Don’t Forget to Take Biscuits (poem)

(For my beloved aunt, who passed away this week)

Don’t Forget To Take Biscuits

Our Gorikhala ate green chillies,
popped them in her mouth like sweets

When I was 6 and my parents were away, she looked after us for a month, and I watched in wonder as she popped green chillies in her mouth, and smiled at me afterwards

Her voice was pitched, her expressions liquid, her love intense, her life a climb 

The last time I saw her, her lids were low,
her head bent,
the colour drained from her face,
and yet, yet, she said to me,

‘Don’t forget to take biscuits, to eat there. Take biscuits. You must not get hungry’

Our Gorikhala was fierce,

She cooked mushrooms in butter and red chillies for me,
leaving the others aghast that so much mushrooms were cooked just for me

She gave and gave and asked for nothing in return

She loved and hated fiercely, no half measures, that Miajaan jaath that runs through our veins

Stubborn, even in the end, she refused the treatment, preferring to go than to live half a life.

She was loved

Oh so loved

I close my eyes and see her. She was grand. Beautiful. Full of love and giving 

She was light,

our Gorikhala

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