Homelands

In the shape of shadow

In the light from windows

With the motionless trees

On the afternoons without wind

I only imagine the dusty, dry grass

And memory fills in the hills and monsoon

I remember my people, not friends,

Barefoot rivals on the rich red clay

In between the stone path shrubs

They smell of toddy

But we share a spirit, a history

Though from different sides

They will not forget that cruel division

Why did you take it? My language,

Misery, meaning, death

Like theirs, all in a village, for melennia

Better to be humble in your lands

Than fighting elsewhere

A step back

Stone steps rise from dirty lawns to reach hopelessly for nowhere.

The sceleton of a compound wall, the wet dirt under unkept bushes. An empty plot filled with the neighbour’s garbage. An electric pole wrapped with so much wire it’s like an insect caught in a cobwebs​. Eighty years ago it was farmland, then a small shack, a home, an apartment, a memory of someone who moved away.

Time passes and forgets but there are still reminders that go way back. Someone lived there. There’s no reason to care but you can see. The steps don’t go nowhere. One they used to lead to someone’s home.