- By Safeerah Mugal
Winner of two Young Muslin Writers Awards 2015 for prose and poetry, Safeerah Mughal’s Creative Corner brings you a weekly dose of creativity. The following poem was runner up in Walkopedia’s First Story awards.
Walking with Grandma
I can see her from a distance -poring over a book
A flock of birds sing outside, and the sky is painted with watercolour blues.
She hasn’t heard me coming- so I tiptoe behind her
Like a child playing hide and seek
And just as I reach out to touch her- I notice the birds have stopped singing…
Her thrumming energy is but
A little beat – barely audible,
Like the broken rhythm of a torn drum skin,
I take her hand in mine-they are cold and soft
Panic rises in me-a tidal wave of uncertainty
I take her hand in mine,
Her head is hung low- as if bowing,
My tongue rolls uselessly, a silent scream erupts
But no one is coming – why aren’t they coming?
An eternity passed when they finally arrived,
Separating my hand from hers and spitting false assurances.
Breathing in the air that smelt of burnt evenings.
Tears of starlight fall from the sky-
I never realised, but now I know I was weeping too.
A map of broken landmarks dissipates inside me,
Yet I manage to stumble across the smooth concrete towards that coffin where she lay.
I forget to breathe; my lungs are shards of longing.
I was drowning.
My weary soul drags itself across the harsh plains between us, chafing its fragile membrane
My hands come to rest on the cool wood, as if my touch would bring her back
But this doesn’t last long
Seeing her lacerates my being
Memories seep, and rise into the air
Beneath a sagging sky, I wait
And in my loneliness, I clutch at the stars with the desperation of a starving soul.
I’m submerged in the currents of this world,
I have been weightlessly spinning in the blue,
But the shore is calling, calling.
And I tear free of the beckoning depths
And on the white sands, I see her standing there smiling.
I swim, but the water is now a straitjacket. Confining. Crushing.
And she’s already turning.
I call out to her
But she’s not turning, why isn’t she turning?
I finally reach the shore,
Darting after her,
But she’s nowhere to be seen.
Then I realise she’s everywhere-
We walk together.