Facetime between grandmother and child

Kiran Masroor

Meri Jaan, it is so
good to see your face again
you do not even know


what your face could
provoke within me,
a hundred storms,


every stroke it takes
to rage against
an ever angry sea.

Ammi, you say I have a face

worth waiting for.

I have your open gaze,

his heavy browbone.

A face worth holding,

even if through technology

that freezes my

mascara dark eyes

under your fingertips.

 

Meri Jaan,

this is a Mother’s

desperate act of holding.

 

I still remember the pale globe

of your baby head against

my breast.

 

You were a living, breathing,

swelling, softening,

beautiful thing.

Ammi, I’m sorry I said the word

technology, I know

I should only say words

 

that are soft enough

for you to string around

your sunspotted neck.

Meri Jaan, this house has

hummed the tiptoe of your feet

across its marble floor

 

since the day

it met you.

 

Meri Jaan, one day there will

not be fire in the sky.

This face you love has

come so close to the sun,

to a girl who buys me flowers.

 

They were roses by the way.

Lipstick red. Is that okay?

All we have left in this life after all

are funny looks across screens.

Meri Jaan, do you know

how many times I have murmured

your name in morning prayer?

Your smile

something

sour.

Meri Jaan, do you see how

Time has made origami of my skin,

my palms now wrinkled paper cranes?

Ammi, I see.

 

Meri Jaan,

Ammi, my eyes are misted,

Do not hide your face from me.

I do not know why you have left me

teared up.

At least tell me you will

send my love to your brothers.

And maybe I don’t know how to go on and the

backbone of my house stiffens.

 

Or the ceiling plaster peels

and I never sleep right.

 

And I know it’s a long shot, but I find myself

staring at the mirror more often.

 

Just for that second

I swear I see you looking back.