Friday 9 May 2014

The way grandmothers go out

I remember her at every wedding, birth, death,
ritually marked with gold, and sandal and tact,
and earthen pots of water, grasses woven into pallets
the warmth of fire and the staunchness of faith;
just a made-up memory, a figment, nothing exact

for I wasn’t present, young and raw then, in any of it.
I heard it later, from the ones who were there
how composed she was in that dimly lit
room, on the shabby death-bed, sounds of gully-cricket
played by slum children hung like flies in the air.

All her offspring around her, but her eldest;
they sat weeping, silent.  The eldest beyond the wires,
the ken of postal men and Morse codes, the rest
had gathered. She made her last bequests -
this brooch to my grandkid. As per her last desires

I hold it now, it has my grandfather’s likeness
a romantic token he told me later; and I their last witness.


  1. Losing any family members is traumatic for young ones. A very nice way to say goodbye.

  2. 'This brooch to my grandkid...' so poignant Nila. I'm glad you hold it in your hand. As always, gorgeous.
    Hope the wedding is going well. x

    1. Oh yes, it was super, Denise...and I wore my grandma's brooch to it!