Grief, sanitized

by | Oct 19, 2020 | Guest Blog, Poems

Today I see you,
As a child
when you
took care
of me
As a daughter
grown up, who
often decided
for you
As a daughter
who moved away.

Today I see you
Decked in your best
clothes that I chose
over the phone.
I did not bathe you,
or cried as I pulled
the shirt or sari
over you
while you lay
Other people
did that
for you

I did not bathe you
in the last few years
Or check your
every day
Or feed you,
croon to you,
berate you
when you refused
to gulp down
the mash.

Your caregivers
did that
mostly gently,
sometimes not so,
but they did care
for you,
and today
they wipe away tears,
faces red and blotched,
talking about
dishes you liked,
or disliked.

Oh, trust me
when I say,
I did visit you,
sit with you,
cried with you.
When I was away,
I called you,
thought about you,
sometimes every hour,
cried about you
but never let
my tears show
when I spoke
to you
I was always
sunshine incarnate,
tears gulped down.

I saw you two
for the last time:
Ma, you, lying
on the stretcher
dressed in the sari
Boro mashi gave you
the last time
we visited her;
Baba, you,
in the morgue
of the same hospital
you visited
as Ma’s caregiver
where you knew
from the staff
to the bosses.

Today, I’m one
of your pallbearers,
never do that,
but then, you,
You two always
brought me up
as an un-daughter.

So, here I am,
your un-daughter
who never cried,
stayed calm.
So, I will still
not cry today.
It’s my grief,

I will not cry today
I will wait for that day
when I go away
Wait for a day
when grief strikes me
as I’m driving,
at a crossing,
strikes me and
washes over me,
like a wave,
as another driver
honks at me.

And I realize,
it’s time for me
to grieve.
Grief, real,


Words: Suparna Bose

Suparna is a doctoral student at Indiana University Bloomington.

Her research interests include multilingual student writing, feminism, diversity and equity issues, and literature.

When she’s not writing, she paints, does gardening, and thinks.

Image: Sravasti Ghosh Dastidar