She had a collection of wild plumes. She had killed many birds and kept their hearts in her box
of jewels. Many a times when she cried for her three year old who she had to leave in the
custody of her husband over a triple talaq, she would rise like maya; rub her lips scathing red,
wear her local Victoria, tuck all feathers, and pirouette like a sufi till that little grief had broken
her ribs. [You hear: You hear the gentle sway, the swish of a falling leaf.]
All the while, I would lie down, watch her body spin, her plumes fire. I would feel love, turn
over, and write poems.
In the evenings when Chandrani will sit and watch my father paint, I would imagine her in
many ways.
She was my sister aborted, my step mother abused, my mother abandoned… She was the perfect
body I desired to wear, a sister to love and a stranger woman to sleep with counting how many
bones make a fish swim. The day we both had to leave for office the same time, and landlord
had warned about water being available for half an hour, we turned in naked for bath. [You
see: Water from our mugs splashing each other’s backs.] [You don’t see: a lizard bites the moth
hard in her heart.]