My parents together, in Chicago, US, six years back, in March 2009
He looks for her, in patches
Of remembered sunlight,
As the cigarette stubs burn in the green ashtray.
In between his staccato coughs and
The pungent smoke tickling his nose,
He loves her back, his throat and lungs full
As he looks around the room,
Rolling down in the incense of her presence.
Whistling, pleading, wanting
The chunks of time that had them intertwined,
Their errant words, fights, silences and togetherness.
The journey of vermilion and silent temples
A promised shade of red, obeisance and tolerance
That danced in her tongue as her only love.
The fresh, pulpy taste of meals well cooked
Has sunk into his teeth, and explode still.
He had swallowed the baking heat, his skin
Toughening as he touched her cold body and face
For one last time at the crematorium.
Back home, Bengali songs in his voice danced,
Twitched, swirled and twirled.
Back home, amid the steady influx
Of relatives, neighbors staring, his eyes blink.
“He had wronged her.”
“He never listened to her.”
“He made her work too much.”
Yes, he had crossed the line at some points in time.
Over the phone, in the ether waves,
His voice is jittery, as his jaws loosen.
His love is the fruit bits fallen, scattered
On the floor, picked up, wayward, chasing.
All Rights Reserved. Lopa Banerjee. June 3, 2015.
Note for the readers: This happens to be the first official poem written for my father, following the demise of my mother in 2013. Have been compelled to write this poem following a writing prompt initiated by the Rejected Stuff Poetry and literature group in Facebook.