She is ninety, my mother.
Sucks her thumb and calls for her abacus
Asks me for her precious lollipop wrappers, sheepishly looks away
and mumbles there was no electricity
So she hasn’t done her homework.
Papa comes in wobbling on his walking stick
She shies and pulls the quilt over her head.
Master, tell Master I have a tummy ache today.
How beautifully she recites her rhymes.
How tearfully I watch her.
Papa’s hands tremble, his tea spills over like the tears from his eyes
Quietly he hobbles back, out of her room
At least the patio knows him.
He is uneasy with his memories and slipping suspenders
while she looks for those red and white ribbons
to tie her ponytails and
that bead sash
her admirer had given her for a birthday.
Dr Shruti Das teaches English Literature and Language in the Berhampur University in Odisha, India. She is an academician and a poet writing Bi-lingually. She has published widely and has two volumes of poetry to her credit: A Daughter Speaks (2013) and Lidless Eyes (2015). She loves to travel.