My heart skips ten beats a second
by Anuja Ghimire

--for my mother who is facing Maoist insurgency in Nepal

When November is warm and sunny,
My coal black ringlets dance with the lone star air.
I think of my mother and her long lost curls.
Her strands are chopped and frigid-
Burgundy and gray like Kathmandu frost.
She wears my father’s woolen cap,
Wraps herself in a cotton sari-always red,
Clings to a flannel shawl that smells of ghee.
The fog seeps into her veins.
The cement lies still beneath her hurrying feet.
The only distance she can run is to the warmth of the kerosene stove.
My arrhythmic mother prays for me.
When she reads the notice left by the people’s warrior,
She wonders if my head still hurts from reading too much,
Sometimes words steal all the fire.
Amidst the jute sacs of rice and polythene bags of sugar, as per the order,
She waits for the ten guests and prays in protest,
Against three days and three nights of house arrest.
Tonight the tenants have fled and the dog is set free,
Her only freedom lies in my dancing curls, safe, seven seas away.

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