Mother is busy wiping off the cumin-dust
from the old photographs, book-spines,

the remotest corners in the room. The stories
are slowly slipping away from her palms. Until

she is left with only one. She keeps mixing
salt and sugar and lemon juice

in preordained combinations. Mother keeps
the ceramic milk-cups wrapped in white

embroidered sheets. We are not allowed
to drink out of them. Mother tells us, the past

is something she cannot afford to repair. We
watch the wooden chair she has just dusted

from the children’s corner in the room – an arcade
of termite wings has taken it over.