Hour 12: A Memory

12 years ago I captured a memory,
And in that memory I saw today, writing it into history
A large room that would turn into a small room
Because my family is just that big
A small couch that would turn into a large couch
Because my aunty, she just can’t sit alone
And memories floating, getting caught in my throat
Tickling and sneezing, oozing with laughter
As my mother offers mangoes and apples on a tray
And tomorrow maybe someone would say
The mangoes were too ripe, the apples looked cheap
The couch was too old, we nearly sank when we sat
That uncle never calls enough
And grandfather can now barely talk
But he still walked that day, around the room
Silently laughing, but assuming aloofness
At how memories fade, and only laughter remains
A private, secret, shared laughter
That I sniffed, and liked and caught and kept
In my little case that I don’t have many of
Because I knew someday I would write it down.

Hour 11: One Winter Here

I feel close but far, at home and one step out into a familiarity that refuses to recognize me,

Like the glittery flower shop across the road that doesn’t sell anything I can ever like even if i love it

Like the cars all big and small but mostly big that drive past me refusing to hit me knowing I want it?

Like the tables and chairs placed close enough that I know everyone is talking but far enough so that I’m forever wondering what

Like the tongues they speak all so familiar to me, familiar like my own, that refuses to flow as smoothly from me only slipping wildly

Like the smoke that two strangers blow from their cigarettes sitting 5 feet away in the same direction but somehow still my way 

Like the many homes I’ve lived in and left behind, I have had to befriend the city, the streets, the strangers, the vendors 

The walls of my house that refuse to hold my memories so everything is always either falling or fallen 

I can love it tonight, the Kashmiri chai, the cold air, the people who can’t trace their home back to the city because it’s only a little older than me 

I will love it another night with food that is only close to everywhere else, and love that is ink with water, similar but useless

I will stay a winter here and we will pretend this was love, and then you can let my memories fall and break. 

Hour 9: Ink

I have to start afresh each time the ink blots and another pen takes its own life

The words will not flow from the deceased carcass of my companion in strife

“But there are only so many pages you can turn” I tell myself

“Only so many excuses you can churn” and compel myself

To blame another tomorrow for my empty pages

Hour 8: Home

This is a little bit of a story, a little it of a poem

a little bit of my mom’s chai that I can never get right,

a little bit of my dads books, those I always got right,

but sometimes they would have really wobbly pages,

because my mom threw them in the water once because he was home late, 

Just a bucket of water, that ate 

all the words

she never said anything to us though, her children,

I think she suspected he loved his books more?

So someone must love us more

Except, love is tricky, and muddy, 

And dusty, and I’m allergic

To dust 

So loving me was never easy 

And hiding that was very difficult, I suspect 

And if nothing else was hidden, I hid

Under books and musics, and broken container lids

That were always too familiar but never enough

Like pain is when you grow old with it 

I could never sit, 

And so I sailed myself away, as one does 


The process, it’s so in baking and cooking, and sewing, and sweeping

None of which I ever learnt 

I guess then my fingers were almost always burnt 

And no other chai tasted like home, 

Except ‘home to me is wherever you are’

So home should be, where I am? 

But I remembered too late that I never liked chai

Until I left.

Hour 7: My Love is the River

The river flows, and for some it fades

When I come back tomorrow, she’s not the same 

But I still call it a river 

I have cried many rivers, and drowned many sinners 

In my journals and my bedrooms

In dark, eerie parking lots 

Where if you go late enough, magic blooms

And touch sparks lights bright enough to make you believe 

Every crease, was worth the pain of carving 

Disarming my soul so you can take a look

Call it a hook 

His smile, and maybe my eyes

And oh, now we’ve spilled a dream all over my dress

I shake it off but its stained my skin

Akin to his love, now I have dreams stuck to my pillow 

I try to wash it while the tide is still low 

When did my river become an ocean? 

Some potion, some spell, he left behind some shelf last he stayed

I’m entrapped, now that’s just rude

Crude skin under my finger tips, at the cusp of desire

But I am not tomorrow what I was tonight 

And he loves in spite

Of the scarred bedroom walls, and empty bathroom stalls 

Of stale lingering desire in unattended mire

And so my love must be a river, 

It must flow and it must fade, 

So I am neither scarred bedroom wall, nor someone else’s desire 

I am new today, as I will be tomorrow 

Love me today and again tomorrow. 


Hour 6: From a 12 Year Old You

Dear Aisha, 

I heard we moved to a new house, 

Did the paint on the walls fade again to a wispy yellow?

I know how hard mama tries to keep it bright and shining, 

But the walls were always whining, 

They often said we dreamt too loud 

But how could we not? 

Papa’s bookshelves only grew taller and taller, 

Does he still keep his keys on the top and forget? 

I bet, 

You’re still angry that he gave away those books 

That we read, hiding in little nooks 

From words that weren’t flooded by mama’s tears 

Angry that everything we said became shears 

Do you still like to look out windows

But not really go outside?

Tell me that you tried

To find me

How many seas

Have you crossed? 

I heard many

There’s plenty, of oceans inside of us

I will let this one flow

You can go 

I am writing from across time 

Your younger self, your crime 

Was none 

I forgive you, pay it forward to you. 

Hour 5: The Window


Through the window of wilted dreams, 

I have often jumped in poetic streams

Out my father’s house and into his bookshelf

A little elf, outgrowing 

The tiny window 

Its light still seeps in, 

But doesn’t shine on all of me

‘Consider yourself free’

Every words, on every page screams 

And I am blinded, because some pages are wilting 

Tilting their head 

In approval and disdain

Adding to my heel, each word makes me taller

The ledge seems smaller

Small enough to jump

And this time I don’t bump, 

Into a shelf, a book or a word, 

I have unearthed my roots.

Hour 4: After me,  She will fly.

A 100 years ago, 5 generations 

Of broken, shredded, bloodied veils,

Leaving hope in their trails 

My mother, my grandmother, 

Her mother, her grandmother, 

And another, that we no longer remember, 

In embers of my dreams, 

I see her sometimes

It rhymes 

Our suffering

The unwavering, unending flow of time 

Ties me to their crimes

Decade to decade we clip the thorns

Slip the wings

On to the next one 

After me, 

She will fly. 

Hour 3: Pay the Price

Fingers through his hair, 

Spare me a thought 

In your dying garden, 

‘Tend to our flower


I run a line through your forehead 

Reading the love you don’t speak 

Seek, my eyes when I try 

Do pry, 

Peek in through the window, will you? 

the rose is still there, in lieu  

Of your heart

‘Miles, so many miles’ apart

Tear it if you must, 


me, I enjoy putting it back together 

Clasp our hands

And tether the string, 

It tugs at my heart too much anyway

I pay,

The price of loving you

Collect the change and 

‘She flew’.

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