2 poems by Sameera Mansuri

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 A day with an illness

Earlier I wrote every day about almost everything
now I do not.
I wait for the paper to drain all the sorrow.
The filtered content then goes under the lens,
where I try to bake a muffin.

You do not write as long as you are happy.
I go to the well only when I am thirsty.
We read in the books about growth,
where cells occupy the space
left by separation of walls.
I search for a path within my blocked mind.
I do not write.

A day with an illness like this is negotiable,
I can bake a poem and write muffin on the walls,
without any hesitation.
Depression gives me the freedom to sleep in the daytime
unless anxiety snatches my pillow.
I still do not wish to write.

My lover quotes Ghalib to soothe my soul.
His poems echo in my room
like the chirping of the bird.
He tells me to hold on.
I do not write.

I am again into a therapy room,
where I do not speak.
Words do not escape my mouth,
I give the therapist a silent treatment.
We walk back,
this time in another room
with pills and doses.
I change into a blue fever.

Earlier I wrote about everything.
Now I do not.
Words do not escape my mouth
since it has been stuffed with pills.

 : Grandmother’s quarantine
My tongue is learning to spell a new word.
It’s everywhere,
floating like a small bubble.
across the streets
it echoes in children’s voice
it is stuck in my grandmother’s throat
a sharp cry leaves her lips
inside we know,
it’s the end
but somehow we pretend it isn’t.

The world stands still.
The streets are turning into a landscape
I would have loved to devour
but my eyes can only see fears
rising as giant monsters
over the clouds.
It rains.
Our rooms turn black.
Lizards go back into the soil.

My grandmother only know a few phrases,
Like ‘come home’
‘it is okay’
‘I did not do this’
‘Can I do this?’
and a few words that she learned
when I could not control my anger.
throwing things on the ground
shouting ‘they displaced me’.
So now every time someone moves her,
she feels she is getting displaced,
she says she has been displaced always.
For her,
getting displaced is the new term for abuse.

Tonight on the phone call,
I ask her how is she.
Come home.
We can’t.
it is okay.
We are in quarantine.
There is death outside taking away people,
like the old witch, you told me about.
I did not do this.
Of course, you did not.
Can I do this?
You mean Quarantine.
No, displacement.
Can I displace death?

The silence travels with the light speed,
breaking into a soft whimper.
It rains outside,
we are still not home.


Bio: Sameera has no other way to embrace pain than to cradle it in her ink-soaked arms. Besides writing about pain, she talks of flowers and the sky. She blogs at sameera.art.blog