LONGLISTED IN THE UNIVERSITY OF CANBERRA VICE-CHANCELLOR POETRY PRIZE – 2016
My father left a big house for me when he died.
The vault accommodated enough to let space linger
between the earth and the sky.
A long concrete chimney rose out of the roof.
Father loved to see the smoke rise out of it.
He said it reminded him of something he had to be happy about.
Evenings, he would sit in the loft
in a laid-back armchair, which he said was the only luxury
he could ask the world for.
He sat down till the sun went red on his windowpane
and the wood in the valley turned to faint mandarin sketches
on the horizon.
There is a room in the house where my father used to sleep.
Nobody lives in this room anymore. The books are thrown all over the floor.
My father spent three decades in this house, this room.
After all the excitement of life, he now remains silent inside the photo frame
hung on the wall of this room, still smiling.
It was a pose he had taken, on my birthday:
well-oiled moustache, hair parted from the middle,
a black mark on his forehead, to ward off evil.
There is a typewriter at the study table, in one corner of the room.
It’s a Remington 1946. Most of the keys are stubborn with rust.
The letters ride, one over the other.
Father had written hundreds of letters from this typewriter.
Near the window, there is a cage where his parrot used to live.
Father had taught him to say hello and goodbye
to those who entered and left the room.
He said many hellos and goodbyes in a day.
Father fed him green chillies to sharpen his tongue.
One day he opened the cage and let it go
and the parrot never returned.
There is a piano on the other corner.
A dark mahogany-coloured thing made up of oak wood.
It was musical in my father’s time, but now it has lost its melody.
A bunch of silverfish live beneath its pedal—the notes burp and belch.
I tried to throw things out of my father’s room,
to replace them with something modern.
But each time I enter, I am humbled by memories.
There is a grandfather clock he had bought in an auction,
stilled at one point for years, thick with rust.
In the middle of the room, there is a fireplace.
A bulky iron hearth, where he had spent countless nights
thinking about those things that are unimportant now.
At the end of the room, a door opens towards a forest.
I feel like opening my arms wide
and shouting at the highest pitch of my voice,
losing myself into the wildernesses.
यसलाई जीवित राख्नकोलागि तपाइँको
आर्थिक सहयोग महत्वपूर्ण हुन्छ ।