Monday, May 24, 2010

Room of the dead

It's not yet fourteen days
After her death
The closure ceremonies
Still some way away
The light has been kept on
In my mother's room
As in the hall
Verandah and backyard
The elders tell me
To keep the spirit away
The house overflows with relatives
The elderly ones have made it a point to come
Knowing this may be their last
And their best chance to say goodbye
To those they may not see again
I am unable to sleep
A hubbub of voices in the head
The segandi and the conch still going on
I cannot look that way
Without a shiver
The mattress has been put away
The cot out of sight
Circles made by medicine bottles
Are still seen on the sill
Can a room be emptied of
A person who is dead
Like a pocket
I suddenly hear her admonishing voice
"Take your meals on time!"
I get up and shut the door