The strain of generations showed
on the leaves’ venation.
Once, my weight didn’t crumble them,
But not anymore,
Maybe it’s the heavy heart.
Generations made their mark on this tree;
Some peed, some prodded, some scribbled, some nicked.
The tree stood still, tolerant,
Its benevolent shade never once did wince.
A mute spectator when we were content with less,
Unjudging when we were greedy amidst plenty.
An ancient fear gripped me as I stood
In the moonlight glaze,
Ancestors’ gasps came down along with the falling leaves.
A man for all seasons stuck in a realm of non-existent seasonality,
Or an unchanging one swept aside by the seasonal tide?
The weeping fig only smiled in response.
An anonymous stream flowed beneath,
Replenishing its roots, satisfying the serpent gods’ thirst.
Now it ran dry, the serpents long gone,
The tree still stood like some afterthought.
If I made a cut on its ailing bark,
Wonder if I’ll see sap or blood?
In the indifferent sun, a displaced wind came,
the tree whispered to me, ‘it’s a tragedy when houses last longer than home.’
In this familiar afternoon sun, I lie in wait for an unfamiliar future,
Under this family tree.
Kiran Gandhi is a writer from Kerala who tweets words of wisdom and random folly alike @Kirangandhi.