Sometimes I forget the year but recall
the exact hour when I opened the mail,
the dark grain of wood under the laptop,
my stricken eyes in the mirror on the wall,
the azaan from the mosque a plaintive wail
and shards of light like a stained glass backdrop
to the news, remembered in clear detail
precise and accurate, not one thing wrong
except that count of years. Randomly fourteen,
but often correct - sometimes the fingers fail
to stack up the total, it’s been so long
that they forget what years and numbers mean.
Years and numbers. Anyway quite useless
as a measure of grief. Or of happiness.
The last week had one 13th death anniversary, the 21st birthday of my son and also the 21st wedding anniversary of a couple, one of whom died one year ago. And of course, Mother's Day was the Sunday before. Which celebration is never the same once your own mother has passed and/or your child has left home and is resident of a different country made further inaccessible by the pandemic. But we managed to celebrate the milestone birthday with videocalls and cake delivery. Thank heavens for technology! And thank heavens that US doesn't have a system of OTPs like India!