by Fizza A Rabbani
She lay too confined on a hospital bed,
a drape of selflessness over a camouflage of
she had never in her life been this selfish.
A strange air of
peacefulness protected her from the thankless cries
that my larynx was producing.
Its obstinacy saved me from the hefty cost,
and she finally
firmly held my hand,
moved two pearl-white
that doctors called
after she lost consciousness.
With her heart rate
going up and down,
Sp02 was not giving my mom what she deserved.
I was sure she would
get her due
but the oximeter’s self-serving attitude pissed me off,
and I asked the doctor to remove the oxygen mask.
Mom looked at me,
perhaps to tell me that I sing better than Lata
because I have no breath control.
I changed my clothes the other day — so unlike me —
showed mom the blue dress I wore
especially for her
— she nodded, ‘I know what you are doing, beta.
Be you, be natural.
Go and never wash your face —
My eyes are accustomed to the symbols of your indolence,
Don’t disappoint me with these ornaments of self-care.’
They believed the left side of mom’s brain
was severely damaged.
I think mom won over her stroke
but her adamant brain needed an outlet to showcase its strength,
so it stopped functioning.
A flower calmly rests in my hand,
enveloping the small grains of sand
that I secretly stole from my mom’s grave,
to tell others my own interpretation of peace.
What is more haunted;
Or a broken heart?
Unspoken words etched on the wounds
As on the marble of gravestones
The silence that's often deafening,
Probes a desolated heart that's still beating
Empty promises of remembrance and once-lived
Like the soul of people hearsed
Both have cremated reminders of love, life and existence
Halting with frustrated tears sobbing for years
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