Kalpana Pandey

Mementos for Moving On

Half knit sweaters in July,
sun dried chillies in August,
as red as your blood,
as hot as my father’s anger.
It all adds up to the pile of Longing,
adds up to the Mountain of Missing.
I’m moving on,
and it’s not the same anymore-
balled fists
because I have to be the Bigger Person,
gritty nails
because I have tried to dig my happiness back.
All I got was an assortment of things
spanning over seven years of childishness or so,
beads, buttons, marbles, pickles, earrings, three love letters and a half read novel.
I’m changed now,
I’m a New Person
(brand new face with a different haircut
and clothes from stores
which smell like air;
please do talk to me)
This house reeks of my aunt’s hair oil,
the roses in the backyard
and spices in a frying pan.
It creaks whenever we talk of going away
it seems to tell us to stay.
Ever since my grandmother left us
died, you know
we have been split/spilt out
in separate rooms
with seperate secrets to keep.
It was just last winter
when my sister and I
had shared a boy and his warm hands-
he told me I was the prettiest,
later he told my sister she was the most comforting.
He then chose her,
it was winter after all,
and my pretty couldn’t warm him up,
or me either.
My bags are packed,
my hair is washed,
in forty minutes there will be a car here
and it will be a one way trip
(no one will return because this house is sold)
I take my bags downstairs
and the steps seem to heave and sigh,
as if to say the house will miss me.
Don’t go don’t go don’t go.
The hibiscuses are wilting,
these were the last my grandmother had seen, and watered.
I pick one out and keep it in a book.
The boy is here, my sister’s boy,
he picks one out, and puts it in my hair.
You look pretty.
I’ll miss you.
I say nothing
and somehow forty minutes pass
as they always do when you don’t want them to,
and I’m in the car and the scenes are changing.
I open the window, and the flower flutters away.
Hibiscuses aren’t meant for the hair anyways.

Kalpana Pandey is a twenty year old student from India who enjoys Mitski, monsoon and long walks, sometimes all at once. She is going to be published in Rattle in September.