is at the tea table
picking a sugar cube for his tea,
humming Faiz, flowers from the couplet
slip on the china saucer, he remembers
the words from his textbook that he
opened in tulip gardens like hope
alive in his heart and Kashmir.
The spoon tinkles with something
in his eyes, the sun is too bright to
read the correct history in his wrinkles.
The couplet slows down like the train
he alighted from at Nizamuddin.
He looks down at the rim of the cup
the brown water wells up to the top
he has stopped humming, his eyes fixed
on the lips of a young man in a clean shirt
my dad, who also hummed the couplet till
the day he came home:
wrapped in two yards of white.
Saima Afreen works as Deputy City Editor of the The New Indian Express.
Her poems have appeared in several Indian and international journals, including Indian Literature, HCE Review, Barely South Review, The Bellingham Review, The Stillwater Review, The McNeese Review, The Nassau Review, The Oklahoma Review, Staghill Literary Journal, The Notre Dame Review, Honest Ulsterman, and Existere, among others.
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