‘No newspaper’, the domestic help says
And I ponder, looking up from my phone
I remember Grandma read
on the grey wicker chair
When her work was done,
her face solemn.
I remember Dad and mom
Bond over the daily news
Over a cup of morning tea
Before the day began
And I remember my favourite uncle
sitting on the patio, his spectacle-
precariously perched on the bridge of his nose
The papers sat like children on his lap
and he’d indulge each of them
Those in his mother’s tongue
given the same attention
As those in the tongue of the colonisers.
‘No newspaper,’ the domestic help repeats
and I look at her drawing a blank.
‘To clean the glass panes, Madam,
line the shelves in the wardrobe, stuff
the shoes to remove bad smell, and for handbags
to keep them fat and in shape,’ she beams with pride.
Smitha Vishwanath is a banker turned writer. She began her writing journey in 2016 through her blog. Thieving Magpies, Spillwords Press, Silverbirch Press, Borderless Journal, and Rebelle Society have published her poetry. In 2019, her poem, 'Omid' was nominated for Best of the Net and her poems, 'Do you have dreams?' and 'Forgotten' were given special mention in NaPoWriMo, 2021 and 2022, hosted by Maureen Thomson. In addition, she was awarded the Reuel International Prize for poetry by the online group TSL. In 2019, she co-authored a book of poetry, 'Roads- A journey with Verses', which received positive reviews. Smitha's writing is peppered with the lessons learned from the plethora of invaluable experiences that come from having lived in India, UAE and Iran, worked in a multi-cultural environment and travelled widely. She resides in Dhaka, Bangladesh, with her husband and two daughters. When she is not writing, you can find her painting, travelling, or sharing reviews of books she has read on Goodreads, Amazon, and her blog. Her debut novel 'Coming Home' was released on 24th March 2023 and is currently available through Amazon on Kindle and as paperback, in most countries.