Saturday, June 10, 2006

A Poem for the Alcoholic Grandmother

Thunder can ricochet off the mountains
irrigation ditches may run over the banks
dogs will bark back at the heavens
and she will still be sick.
Rehabilitation is on our lips
but are we not meaning to say accommodation
or reconciliation
or even retribution?
Oxygen tubes, catheters, PIC lines –
we secretly think of all this as penance.
This is nothing to how you torment us.

But there, under the hospital's halogen lights
casting off a soft glow
is a baby girl,
a babbling granddaughter.
Her name is the refrain of our better thoughts.
What is an alcoholic grandmother's life good for?
To love L.
To teach L. to demand leftovers at midnight
To pass Christmas ornaments on to L.
To help L. seek an end in objects and sensations:
porcelain turtles, furniture, a dog's breadth.

Remember that there were two Krishna's.
That war-mongering, duty-peddling
awe-striking, Karma-pushing Krishna,
he who drove Arjun's chariot chanting,
Karmanye vaadikarashye mafaleshu kadachana.
This is the Krishna of our studies, not our songs.
Who is our partner when we dance the Raas-Lila?
It is a shepherd cavorting with village girls
the flautist of Vrindavan gardens
a teenage boy drunk on butter.


Anonymous said...

Both praying and hoping. Is it working? I miss you three. Let me know if you need anything. nz

Laura said...

These are some wonderful, reflective posts, Raj. Prayers and best wishes for your family.