Poems & Essays

23 Nov

My Mother in Hindi

Taking Flight No Response

It’s our ritual, ours.
Bickering over her music,
we sit in her bed, eating small oranges
from a plate black with salt. Lazy words
leave our tired mouths. Her hand
sweeps hair from increasing worries.
Even as her bones grow fragile
she is the rain that braids
my windowpane on a bored Sunday.
I would bury a body for this woman.

It’s our ritual, ours.
I sniffle in her lap:
my unfinished book, or the ice cream
I shouldn’t have had. Knowing laughter
stretches our faces. “Don’t worry,” she says,
“Don’t worry, sweet sweet baby,
you’re going places.” When I dislodge
her phone from her grip
and take the glasses off her face
she mumbles angrily, but knows
it’s me. When she sleeps,
her dreams talk—
she frowns under the cloth mask
that covers her eyes.
I lie in the same bed
listening to the storm.

It’s our ritual. She holds a jewel
to her pierced lobe and says,
‘This looks better on me.’
I hug her from behind.
I let her raid my box of things.
Things distract us from the thunder.
She wipes my cheeks
with her warm hands.

It’s our ritual. Ours.   

Brinda Gulati has an MA in Writing from the University of Warwick, and enjoys knitting as much as she does a tall glass of iced coffee. You can follow her virtual life on Instagram – @brindagulati, or share her anxieties of living in a COVID world on Twitter – @theonlybrinda.

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