Marías at Sampaguitas
Poetry by Anannya Uberoi
I. a winter in delhi
the cold comes in waves like
the pleats of nani’s gold-bordered kancheepuram saree
gently bracing the grass as she moves in the garden
clearing up crumbled leaves and paper daisies to
make room for bushes of hollyhocks that, on the
first blossom, make her eyes flash up like little
holes of light.
the first gush of november wind
blows westward from beena’s house wall-to-wall through
fiberglass-fixed windows into the cool grill that makes our
fingers quiver as we shut the heavy, mildewy curtains on
pa’s command while he is sunk on the couch, fixing the
old space heater as it flusters us with its sparks.
early november, the quilts are out.
december through january,
ma struggles with bundles of heavy blankets from the bed-box,
and we are huddled in a corner with hot milk and tea bags,
giggling, for we are fattened just as them. the house’s
berries and nuts are out of diwali boxes, churned
and churned into nani’s panjeeri and perfected
in her gajar ka halwa.
numbed in a flaxen bath of sunlight in the front porch, where
nani and kamala aunty, lost in scholarly thought, stemming
peas and paalak under two makeshift chairs that have
been artfully crafted from old crosspieces of lightweight
mango-wood and coir, somewhere in punjab.
delhi has its own version of permafrost in the sky,
but its people have privated away a quiet summer tucked in
their dens – in trunkets of hand-knit clothes and punnets
of chikoos and custard apples. at a distance, the pallid
harrier flies away; the sparrow stays.
Anannya Uberoi is a full-time software engineer and part-time tea connoisseur based in Madrid. Uberoi's poems and short stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Jaggery, LandLocked, Deep Wild, Tipton Poetry Journal, Lapiz Lazuli, and eFiction India. Uberoi's writing has also featured on The Delhi Walla and The Dewdrop, among other literary blogs.