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My father placed the snapshot of my mother on the day I bled and became a woman

Evelyn De Morgan, “Night and Sleep” (1878)

Snippets by my Father

As a child my father dreaded earthquakes,

he imagined that crevices formed out of them

can be sewed into a table cover, hiding all painful

memories. He taught me that the Northern plains

are fertile, and if we sow well, we reap well.

On a Sunday morning on the Malabar coast

I held his forefinger, with my palm

finding doodles of a safe space.

He loved the breeze kissing my cheek,

in the heat of the sun, walking on the

golden-brown particles of sand, and raising

mountains of sand with all his fingers waging

war against each other. On a rainy day, he’d

ask me to look at the sky at night, and watch the

droplets fall on my face, he said raindrops were like

god-gifted crystals falling from heaven

blessing our eyes with a vision worthy of compliments.

I have always liked men with long eyelashes,

clean shaved beards, operating drill machines

and microwaves alike, like my father wanted me to learn.

He knew I was inspired by women dying for freedom,

so he left stories in a mason jar of a world where women laughed

in the letters they wrote, and smiled when their lover returned with

jhumke for them.

As a child my father wanted to catch stars, so he could wear them

on his chest to hear the sound of his own giggles.

My father believes borders of countries are blankets spread across the

world garnering snippets of heritage he dreamt to make a collage

out of. At the dinner table on nights when my lips are tired

of humming prayers for the dead, the needy, the brutal,

the wise alike, he hands me another story of a woman whose

eyes glisten with her undying love for me.

My father placed the snapshot of my mother on the day

I bled and became a woman.


after Animal Farm

There are streams flowing

in his veins from

mountains – snow – capped

calling out to his conscience.

There’s a long lean finger

traversing from the jungles,

mellow grasslands

shanty huts

and soil which feeds

misery to pain and canopies

of bizarre mishaps grow

on them. He has piano keys

echoing, reaching to his nails

and they fall weak.

The streams in Boxer’s veins

now carry pig blood

like there’s an insurrection

at the ‘Animal Farm’ and

Old Major was revived to life,

walking to and fro with his cane

(your grandfather never needed one)

Old age seeps through your scalp

and you’re merry at the thought

of overthrowing civil rights.

Your vast body, disregarding,

brooding over dreams of rebellion,

of dear Ol’ Major’s.

You well know tires screeching

in his eyes, was he overthrown,

but lament and pity cast their

shadow on him and how,

Rousseau nudges his poor being;

the man next door bought

a million mansions.

Sweeping, was he, mercilessly

“Walk off! Live long!

Gallop on thy pennies,

I beg ye, mercy!”

Work, harder! Work, harder!

Trotters now ferry gallons of

justice to be drowned in his veins;

vote for tyranny,

his veins carry venom cells,

lips-sync with the lynched mob,

his tongue utters “Long live, tyranny!”

Train journeys to nowhere:

1. As a five year old train journeys cradled me to sleep, enticing me into believing that I could dive into a world in which a man crying at his daughter's wedding was tolerable. What wasn't however, was a man succumbing to his emotions.

2. As a ten-year-old, observing kids fall asleep meant persuading my conscience knowing, a father singing a lullaby to his son is just as beautiful as a mother narrating him a bedtime story. What wasn't however, was a father weathering away his parenthood in cheering his son's rebellion.

3. As a fifteen-year-old, the idea of a 50-something man standing by his abused son, wishing death upon their abuser felt morally fair. What however wasn't, was a father abusing his son to be a man.

4. At 20 now, I see how love resting on the lips of a vulnerable man can never reach his tongue. I see, when a father on his death bed wishes dandelions on his grave, wears agony and is buried with a loathing body, instead. I see how in the end, a fort howling a history of bloodshed and valour, had to surrender to its ruins instead.


About the Poet :

Anjali Dombe is a penultimate year student of LL.B. with graduation in English Literature.

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