Poetry / March 2014 (Issue 23)

Mother’s Instructions To A Daughter Who Wishes to Write

by Ranu Uniyal

I must show a raw interest
in birds and bees, flowers and trees;
I must smell the fragrance of laughter
and be ready to sip at intervals, be ready
to lick the gentle rain that often
gets trapped in the stammering
banana stalks, never feel offended
by the neighbour’s dog and his ghoulish bark.
I must be always ready to pull
and prod my mother’s tongue
like the mushy earth
and let it blossom with curses
broad as sequins, much in vogue.
I must burn litanies of silence
and let the trees speak
in a dialect with no sighs of green.
I must be ready to wait
for the spring to churn sorrows
into tales of celebration
and welcome each spray of autumn
without doubts and discomfort.
I must be the garden that seeks
consolation in the grass that
turns brown and is then burnt
without a sound.
I must bear the burden of script
stain it with the mother’s milk
and let her blood seep through my pen.
As for tears I must
I must garnish them with
tiny drops of honey;
if my kitchen is empty
steal it from the neighbour’s garden
and let the bees hum with surprise.
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