A Couplet


My grandfather
is at the tea‐table
picking a sugar cube for his tea,
humming Faiz, flowers from the couplet
Slip on the china saucer, he remembers
the words from his text book that he
opened in tulip gardens like hope
alive in his heart and Kashmir;

the spoon tinkles with something
in his eyes, the sun is too bright to
read the correct history in his wrinkles.
The couplet slows down like the train
That he alighted from at Nizamuddin

He looks down at the rim of the cup
the brown water wells up to the top
he has stopped humming, his eyes fixed
on the lips of a young man in clean shirt
my dad, who also hummed the couplet till
the day he came home:

wrapped in two yards of white.

Saima Afreen lives in Calcutta, India

Posted in: February 2016, Poetry


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