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,
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.