Grandmothers Abroad by Tishani Doshi
You will see them pacing platform tracks,
at corner stores, and in the park,
pushing kids about in prams,
always first to get on board.
You will see them walk the dog,
pretending to be nonchalant
about the plastic bags
they’ve got tied around their hands.
You will see them at the markets
in pursuit of perfect fruit,
taking breaks on city benches
in saris and salwar suits.
You will see them luxuriate
in cricket scores and royal scandals,
at the bus-stop with the shopping,
edging home in socks and sandals.
You will see them, then you won’t.
The plumage of their sari tails
devoured by hues of black and grey,
the outwardness of Kanchivaram
not quite right for mid-sized Durham.
You will see them scourged of colour,
bandaged in their daughter’s fleeces,
hounded by their sons and nieces
to put away the jewellery pieces.
You will want to tell them to resist,
at least, the flaccid slacks and pumps that wait,
the visits to the Oxfam shops.
Granny, don’t become that omnipresent
migrant woman, stripped of all her memories.
Find a courtyard filled with sun
and let that gold relentlessly
unfold upon the paisley sleeves
of your bereaved imaginings.