5. 5. 2022

Summer, Fall

Sanna Wani

is what I wish my dreams were like, Karenveer says and we are sitting on two chairs in front of the sky. She says, When you lose that person, something vanishes. A home becomes a house. A roof, a chair, somewhere no one sits anymore. Time is slipping away, over my face, under your hands. Grief punctures a hole in time we slip through. We wait. Weep. Wander. Wonder about her face in your dreams. Ask, Whose dream? like, Was that really her? Only the crow knows. The crow, who knows how to laugh and recognize a face. Wisdom passes mouth to mouth. When a crow caws, family is coming home. There is still someone who calls you home.

Today I eat eggs. The roses in the garden grow taller than me, reaching for the sun. I do not drink coffee. I crave it but it does not hurt me to drink ginger tea instead. I am not tired. The stray kittens keep trying to get inside the house and my father says, Let them. Their little brown noses in our laundry, under the dining table, in the kitchen drawers. There are so many sun-warmed spots to sit. I have a desk. I put aloe vera in the drawers for when my hands and lips get dry as I work. I work. I watch two flowers bloom. I guess their names. The kittens are not afraid of wasps. Their mother finally trusts me. I do not pluck a single hair from my face. I make goals and fail and make more. I watch the sunset from the attic window. My father sits in the light. My hair smooths to two curtains down the sides of my face. Even the wood whispers, I love you.

If I am lost, I have enough buttons. A stranger says, You look so lovely in that phiran. That velvet suits your skin. The colour yellow beckons me. If I am, then I am lost. If I am lost, someone will take me home. Feet make a mark in the grass. A path licks its way into the dirt and now there’s an echo. I walked high enough up the mountain for light to look like smoke and even when no one knew each other, we made a point to greet each other like family. Family is another word for this place. For the place it makes of us.

I follow a song to my room. The clothes I left piled on the chair are folded. A bowl of cut fruit on the desk. A voice floats in through the open window. Zindagi aur kuch bhi nahi teri meri kahani hai / Ek pyar ka nagma hai. A moment that has not happened yet — my mother walking with a cane, tired hands, grey hair, back bent. My mother who begins to look more and more like her own. My mother who sat across from me, kissed me so many times with her eyes, and said, You are my daughter. You look just like me today.

A screenshot from OpenStreetMap that shows a line of travel between Ganderbal and Srinagar.
A screenshot from OpenStreetMap that shows a line of travel between Srinagar and Jammu.

Excerpted from My Grief, the Sun by Sanna Wani. © 2022 Sanna Wani. Published by House of Anansi Press.

Sanna Wani loves daisies. My Grief, the Sun is her first collection of poetry.