Dear God, Is this How Writers Mourn?

Strange isn’t it? The silence that is our house. Almost as if no one wants to miss your breath returning. We have been waiting for about an hour now

Dear God, does chilli bring people back to life?

I have no tears. When we heard the news my cousin broke and became a mess i’m still trying to clean. I may have washed dishes that didn’t need washing. I know I cleaned the stove inside out for no reason. I had no tears. I had words. Lots of words that were forming themselves into poetry and letters and apologies and anger. Dear God, is this how writers mourn?

It is sunday.
My mother has washed all her kangas and put them out to dry.
My father is putting clothes into a travelling bag.
In the background my uncle is saying that my grandmother is taking a break from life. Again.
It has been twenty minutes since she last breathed.
We are counting the minutes that she has not breathed in,
we are neglecting the seconds she is dead in.
“put chilli powder under her mouth and wait” – my mother to my uncle.
Dear god, does chilli powder bring people back to life?

You cant die now. Not like this. I haven’t told you what has become of my life. I haven’t told you of the jobs I have. I haven’t told you of how your son is going to be proud of me someday.

Maybe it is the wrong time to remind you this. But you said you’d be there for my graduation. You said you’d come. You promised.

I tied a scarf around my head. Not as a sign of mourning. But because I cant look at myself. I cut my hair earlier this year. When I looked in the mirror some hours ago I saw you. I have your head, your hair and possibly your face. Is this how you intend to stay with me forever?

Dear God, does chilli bring people back to life?
Is this how you intend to stay with me forever?

It is sunday.
My mother is crying. Wailing really.
My father is not here.
I am holding her and she is pouring out of my arms.
Is this how to mourn?
To become liquid,
to become fluid,
to become un-holdable?

They say you are not returning from your break this time around. They say you have left for good. My dad is the portrait of a man I’m not sure I know. He cried this morning when you had taken a break. When everyone was saying you were not dead yet just “not breathing”.

Now that you are gone, he walks back into the house and i’m not sure whether I should say “i’m sorry” or “my condolences”. We do not do hugs me and him. So I greet him instead and he speaks to me normally as my mother wails on the floor in our large living room. She has become the background noise to a sad movie.

You did not keep your promise. You said you’d be there when I graduated. I was supposed to buy you a car you would never be able to drive. I was supposed to take you overseas and show you snow. Show you “white people”.

A portrait of me (a poem):
weeping willow.
Crashing waves.
Desert storm.

The only man that can help me is the man that needs help. He says he is on his way here but maybe he should pick himself up before he comes. He is your last born son. The one that got away. The one living with the woman he has not married. The one with the two year old daughter you have not seen. The only of your grand children without your name. She has your eyes you know..and my eyes too.

it has taken me a while to write this. my grandmother died days before my birthday and i have just never seemed able to fully understand that she is gone. i started writing this the day she died. but i dont think i will ever complete it.


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