Two Poems by Namrata Singh

He is back from school
his satchel bubbling with learning
about force and friction and motion and molecules
and how Newton believed a 'push' made the world go round
Science, he exclaims, can explain everything
lucid and logical, relevant and rational
As I stare at the monarch butterfly fluttering gloriously
in its marmalade kimono, on the pink milkweed
drinking deep, very deep
I whisper aloud
would the flower hold a grudge for being emptied of its nectar?
Or when the willowy scarlet leaves drop and fall from the trees
the branches that held it close for so long,
would the maple and the oak lament?
The house sparrow that visits me every morning
over tidbits of millets and milo on the wooden fence,
would it feel abandoned when I am gone?
The red songbird, after its August molt,
would it forget the feathers that once soared it high?
Why do red carnations and the demure white daisies
make the world look more perfect than it is?
The passion fruit that ripens and falls,
the squirrel and the skunks, the raccoons and the chipmunks
would they be grateful to the carpenter bees that started it all?
As long as they stand, strong and sturdy
would the bridges ever get to know
that people reached home safely
because they weathered the storm?
Is it okay to prosecute the floods for culpable homicide
or can it plead not guilty, for it knows not what it destroyed?
Do people ever sleep in peace with fear in their hearts
and guns in their closet
or the one who has waged war, fighting a war within too?
He looks at me, surprised
ready to step out and chase bumble bees in the balsam flowers
That's not scientific, he says and gallops away
I continue to stare at the monarch as the autumnal light fades
wondering how science has all the answers
and I have none.

A parallel world
You may not be able to see tomorrow -
the subject line reads - from my financial consultant
the first rays of the morning sun have just started to fall
on the magenta and green leaves of the coleus
as a shiny dew on the tip quivers by the gentle intrusion of zephyr.
It's a peaceful morning to cook peaceful pancakes and let a peaceful day unfold
but I've got a Belaz on high idle rolling over the arteries of my heart
The email reads - Keep all your investment & insurance documents in one place
and tell your spouse about that.
It could go the other way round too.
But he chooses the stereotypes, and I choose what I have been choosing for years
shut the kitchen window and drop on the beige tiles next to the dishwasher
my heartbeat so loud, I can hear it explode
except that it doesn't, and I have to live with the anguish of unexploded ordnance
and cook peaceful pancakes for the peaceful family and say a peaceful goodbye to them.
As I look out at the little boy
his fingers clasped in the big palms of his father
I cannot help but let it flow drop by drop
the panic I thought I had defeated
a confetti of pills and spiritual chants
The newspaper feels heavy, almost lifeless
with the burden of mass graves found in Ukraine
and dead bodies of three children, their mother suffering
from unkept promises and unpaid bills
How does one survive a world so cold?
And so I lose it all, every bit, in a matter of a few seconds
over a few words in Times Roman
a trigger that's so readily available in today's world, at every step
every cross, every turn
and to make matters worse, it's autumn in California
and the trees are a salad bar of colors so vibrant
you might pluck and chew on them
or lay on the parakeet grass and
let tawny maples gently fall
more like a bandage for the badly bruised heart
I know I am wasting my breaths over an emotion that doesn't stand a reason
It's un-Oprah-like. I feel the shame.
Hardworking farm women don't have the luxury to dissect
the ebb and flow of emotions and crouch and crawl
on the ground while tilling the dry land or blowing the clay oven to cook millet.
Are my days too empty, or is the world too full?
Are my thoughts too dark, or is the world less bright?
As I straddle two worlds, one day meets another
and they turn into weeks and months and years.
Stranded on this island, I teeter my way through the squall
waiting for the final breath to rise and then fall
ushering an end to a thousand deaths I have encountered before.
Namrata Singh

Namrata is a contributing author and an essayist to some of India's leading platforms- Literoma, Women's Web, Women's Era, Kitaab International, Readomania, Momspresso, ArtoonsInn, Penmancy, and more. She has four books to her credit- No Apologies by Women's Web, Lovers and Losers by Momspresso, Immortality by Chinmaya Publications, and I am what I am again by Chinmaya Publications. Poetry is her first love, and one can often find her lost in the wilderness of words. She resides in Irvine with her family and her poetry books.


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