When we’re dead
Strange people crawl into our intimate spaces.
I see the aunt who spewed venom
Washing utensils in a kitchen
Where once we chopped coriander and cucumber
With other assorted vegetables
For a salad that I fussed and you fretted upon
But in the end we did relish eating it
Over a meal of courgette and prawn.
And there is this uncle,
Weeping profusely next to my mother,
Who always thought I am good for nothing;
A wastrel who lived off his parent’s deeds.
He once said he had a job for me –
A sales executive in a respectful company –
But we knew in his motives he is suspect;
He only intends to oblige, to humiliate.
Oh! There is this beautiful cousin,
Who once was besotted with me,
Washing her lovely daughter’s nappies
In a bathroom where once I washed
Our little girl’s clothes and yours too
When you lay nursing after a painful birth giving.
And as I rinsed them dry
You smiled through the slit of light
That fell across the bed,
Your lithe body, your blessed face.
And there they sit, my friends,
Huddled around my forlorn father
Who only shakes his head and sighs –
If he had to die
Why did he take his life?
Why didn’t he also perish
In the same car accident
That snatched his wife and lovely kid?
© Dan Husain
May 5, 2005
PS: This poem was written after an extended tragedy in my family. An uncle of mine lost his wife and daughter in a car accident and then 20 days later committed suicide. I wrote this poem on his day of funeral. This is my humble tribute to the lovely family of Shakeel Abidi, Deeba Abidi and Sara Abidi (She was only 16).