after Noor Hindi
I've been thinking hard of the country
I've left— the country of occupied territories and colonisers.
of bright yellow mangoes
that when dug into, the juice
spills out lava and ash clouds form
a memory that covers the sky for a full year.
I've been thinking about the sun
and the pregnant sunflowers
in my mother's garden
that could not survive.
The sunlight in them taken away
by the police that rammed the door in the death of night
and took my father and brother away.
I've been trying hard to focus on the mole
near my father's eye
or how my brother laughs at his own joke during dinner.
I remember them in our dinners
but I don't remember much who they were
but they are always on the table
as two untouched porcelain plates.
As two empty seats.
My mother hosts a dinner
for ghosts. My family has long been a family of ghosts.
I am a ghost— I thought long and hard
but I told my mother
I must go. The bags I packed and the family album
I left. The house is empty
but my mother is full of water—
We are made of water, and anything made of water
will somehow find their way to the sea.
I've been thinking about my mother lately,
how her body is planted with sunflowers,
how the sun shines
even after the sky is clear of ash,
how a country can remember
a father and brother that shared a meal.
By Miguel GarciaQLRS Vol. 21 No. 4 Oct 2022