For an year now
I have tried to mould
perfect sentences in an elegy
for you nana.
All day I hear the poem sing
like a sparrow
in the lemon tree
standing alone in our old house.
As I listen, I forget to write.
Only in pieces can this poem
Like raindrops and the stars
and million other broken things
that one preserves in tiny wooden boxes
I have kept you living
in a thousand unwritten poems,
like nameless sparrows
that return from their search
on evenings such as this.
They brought me back years of letters
I wrote to you. They brought me
yellowing pages in disjointed handwriting.
Childish demands of trivial artifacts--
suns and stars in the galaxy,
one more story, one more book,
A box of chalk, and scraps of firewood
A walk in the park, a doll’s dress,
the promise of protection from the dark abyss.
They brought me years of poems
in colourful ink, with little flowers
and paper roses pasted in the margins
with drips of paint in my rash hand
your keepsakes from this forgotten land.
Preeti Singh is from Lucknow. She has completed her M.Phil in English Literature from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and has taught in several colleges at University of Delhi. This is her first poetry publication.