The rich silt from Cauvery
streaked the yard behind my grandfather’s house.
In months during monsoon the river rose,
lapped gently into the garden
leaving silvery gray traces
under the mangled gooseberry tree.
Sweat pearled down my grandfather’s neck,
he sat under the tree making a rosewood chair,
the grains of the timber a pomegranate red
waited for polish,
hammer, chisel, box of nails,
whorls of shavings stirred by breeze, lay around.
My father, a boy of ten
saw a man swim in the river-
a quiver of mercury in the mid day sun.
The distant rumble of traffic upstream
came wrapped in heat and haze to the boy
who sat watching his father at work.
The chair now in my apartment
carries the world of grains my grandfather carved out
for the boy who watched through drowsy heat.
Now I cradle those afternoons
as I sit on the chair
this many years later, after both are gone.
This poem is in response to a prompt from Magpie Tales.