An Autumn Dusk: recollected

The autumn dusk was a
sharp quarter late for rounds;
green curtains hung limp,
nerves nauseous with
hospital stench-

I smiled
(for I was yet to be ‘me’), remember
-ing, how you hated cheap phenyl, and
wrinkled your nose. I
never said that you did look so funny then.

I waited to see you, stringing nursery-
rhymes over saline drips, and
bags of blood
as they chatted, lulling
new lives yet to see light. (Ah!
how I wish to recede,
back to amniotic isolation,
protection, defiant

Pangs of birth jerked the
moon awake- I was still deciding
whether a normal, or
cesarean for future, when
he came, and held
my imperfect face ‘tween ice palms,
and whispered

you had to go, with
the sister who could never be,
well, my sister.

©Mohana Das


15 thoughts on “An Autumn Dusk: recollected

  1. Mohana, you’ve utilized just enough ambiguity here to leave me wondering, and I like that, but I do sense the sadness of a loss not yet discovered. This is lovely in its mourning and contradictory feelings, and you’re imagery is fantastic. I am left feeling the need to reflect for a bit….

  2. Oh…this is so sad for me. I could not imagine life without my sister…the only one who makes an effort to understand me! the bags of blood…the imagery…a fantastic write

  3. I love your work, Mohana–always incisive, always intense, never sentimental no matter what subject you take up. I hope you continue to pursue this gift–it is a very strong one. This poem has incredible subtlety, humanity, and pain, yet carries much redemption and a sense of that order behind the universe we can never ignore, whatever name we call it by.

  4. We bring a sense of personal history to the work we read. I thought the baby died. My mother lost the baby, who would have been my sister, to strangulation by the umbilical during a full term birth. I have grieved for her my entire “only child” life. I didn’t know until your note that your meant the mother. It takes your subtle and vivid poem to another level.Wonderfully written.

    • Well, Gay, I lost both of them, reason why I write “you had to go with the sister…” and have grieved ever since. I could never really get over my mother’s death, but sometimes I wonder why I feel sad about the sister I never saw…
      Thanks for your kind words.

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