Shahid #2


But shahid,
I have seen all the gardens,
abba would walk to pluck flowers
for his early morning rituals.
An assorted array of colors
for an assorted array of gods.
Abba knew his prayers by heart.
Then why do the flowers refuse to bloom
after you left.
Tell me, did you make them
fall in love with you too?
What did you promise the flowers?


emba dibujos
There is a scream coming
from the quietest corner of the house tonight
and I do not know how to respond to this
oh shahid
wouldn’t you know
exactly the right words
abba always said
you knew everything
as you grew up. He had seen you
like he had his own child
and every night
he would come to your room
to close the window
that you liked looking through and speaking
to trees that would always
protrude enough branches to reach
our windows.
intrude in family matters
hearing abba and ma fighting.
abba made a point to get the tree cut down
last summer
the same year you left home
for your studies in the foreign land
where my grandparents grew.
amma died last month.
but abba still mumbles the same swear words
some nights
in his sleep
on others
he wakes up
walks to your room
in the hope
that he would find you sleeping and close the windows again.

/there are so many things we could do/


There are days
when we would go out
to the seashore behind
your first home,
as hazardous the road might be.
“Watch your step,” you would whisper
telling me where the bushes were sharp
and I would move my skinny body
lean against one of those large rocks
and stare for hours
at you, at the clear water running.
In the sea
shadowing everything inside it.
Like small fish and the rocks, that the sea
every time it hits the shore.

It feels nice
to witness you every day
to stare at you like this
like the sea and the sand
changing, moving, shifting.

The sun touches my face gently,
like when you are desperate
teasing me, flirting. Kissing my face.
Look towards the sky
and see
the moon is jealous.

/there are so many things we could do/

Full stops as Hurricanes.


Fashion me,
and this crisis.

the guy in front
spills coffee on his shirt
and he sighs in frustration,
I laugh
blushing in acknowledgment.

we sit side by side
in the parlor
2 hours and we leave
he sighs off again
his hair an ugly mess.

we have sat down for coffee again
but my lips desire something completely else

signing off
he holds my hand again
like in the bookstore
in an empty aisle.

he left about 4 days back
and probably thought that I died
but I am alive. Very much.
Only wondering if he too was just
another reflection of a man.
I saw, six years back.
Hatred, the same.
In both their eyes.
Pitch black, their stone cold hearts.

Artwork by Manjit Thapp.



In the last maiden
season of spring
mother told me that the jasmine wouldn’t bloom
that year and they didn’t.

For father had died
the day before
and the flowers knew how to cry.

So why do they bloom now
when the lover has taken rest
and that one bite on my neck has vanished away
in the air around us.

only mother knows

she who sits on the porch
knitting sweaters and mumbling sounds
to the flowers.



I steal facts
from your history
As if they were secrets at a factory.

And annoy the gardener
at your father’s house
every time the machines rumbled,
Moaned, or cried.

Now again
When the leaves have fallen
and sprung again
In spring.

I can feel them
just the same way
I felt your soft breath on my neck,
the last time we kissed/ made love.

Only this time
the opportunities are low
and I have allowed this transition
from touch to just the wind that touches my skin.

What do I know of love,
after all?
Except that you, my love
are the flower that takes the longest to bloom.