[Issue 13 / 1 May 15]


all ma can see

is yesterday.


i skype  every morning,

sipping tea as i put my feet up.

i can’t tell if she is nodding off to sleep —

her eyelids droop all the time.


it’s been five years.

but she knows

all the trivia in my life—

even how high the snow

has piled in the backyard,

the new recipe i tried

last week.


her grandchildren sing

Carnatic ragas in heavily

laced accents, when they can.

she nods harder.


we send her parcels every month.

vitamins for her osteoporosis

and some chocolates she loves.


today is different. i watch

the neighbours garland her.

a distant cousin has volunteered

to perform the last rites.


ma will never know,

my husband reassures me.


outside the snow falls harder

than yesterday.


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Shobana Kumar has two volumes of poetry published by Writers Workshop, Kolkata: The Voices Never Stop in 2012 and *Conditions Apply in 2014. Her work features in several anthologies and in journals around the world. She was one of the 25 featured poets at Poetry with Prakriti festival in Chennai in 2014, a reading by 8 women poets, for the National Poetry Month in Hyderabad, jointly curated by Raedleaf Poetry and The American Consulate and an invitee to the 7th International Poetry Festival at JKC College, Guntur. Shobhana has authored 5 books of non-fiction.