Poems | Greeshma Gireesh

Sketch by Gayatri Goswami 

1. Remembering my old man's old man

When you venture with the belief
that your dead grandmother is a mystery,
you slather a thick rim of dusty, grimy reality
on the man who married her.

You paint her a vision
of brown eyes and an even browner skin
that stole many hearts including his,
while he rots in the recesses of your memory
as an old man who came back to the house
to eventually become as yellow as the walls.

She thrives and takes over the memories
like that coat of emulsion on a camera film
creating life, but stiffly in reverse.
He was in the mean, that respected elder whose
presence was as equally venerated
as much as it was brushed aside.

I had exiled myself such in my pursuits,
for lived and felt lives didn’t taste as bitter as
that innocuous nostalgia that as a poet
I clamoured for, in my clumsy passionate tremors.

That it never occurred to me
that my old man’s old man could not have been a gentleman
or necessarily that man of monkish bearing
as I unconsciously fashioned him out to be.
It needed his death and my father’s festering confession
to weld together this decrepit body of skeleton.

Ever since, grandmother unceasingly tut-tuts me
for revelling in his libertine voracity:
The quixotic adventures of a libellous man perhaps
riding a Premier Padmini or an abandoned Fiat 1100
or maybe even a decadent Standard Herald
constantly smothering the longitudes and latitudes.

I dream of her.
But now I strive to outstrip him.

2. Cessation

If I remember correctly,
and I really don't,
it was four fifty nine
on a balmy Friday afternoon,
about two years ago when
my mother first felt
the hot flashes that now
convulse through her body,
taking over her, decaying her,
while I bled every month
in a dissipated anticipation
that enjoyed bodies yet cared
not for charms or love or men
but was still in a mundane pursuit
of something decidedly elusive.
That was when I realized
I had stopped collecting

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