Thursday, December 22, 2011

Don’t go counting your steps

Don’t go like a spent monsoon cloud. Stay!
Clear turmeric stains from this table. Drink
your ginger tea. Ma bought this bone china cup
from the Chandni Chowk of her youth
for my dowry half-a-century ago.
Remember, once you were nine and I was six.

Don’t go with bushels of unsaid over your head.
Remember how you carried ten pitchers a day
from the river to home, without spilling a drop.
The neighbors cursed their daughters for managing
only three spilled pitchers each.

Present is too imperfect. Let it recede
into memory where, like your husband’s beard,
it will acquire a fragrant smoothness that his snoring
nearness never kept.

Don’t go counting your steps. Your trek will turn sublime,
if you forget what you leave behind.

First published in Muse India, Fall 2011