Sanjana Nair: Pepper Pike, 1999

My tiny mother is alone, dragging
the huge sofa across the upstairs floor
again, pushing her small bones.
This is her rebellion
against illness. Whenever it happens,
the house’s parts start moving.
My father is in the garden.
When the house is in motion,
he removes himself.
He will not bear witness to rearrangement.
Above, her small bones flutter
onto the upstairs floor –
fall like birds, land. Meanwhile
he sits in his white, easily moved, plastic chair
watching the birds, marveling
at their hollow-boned construction:
the flutes of bone which allow the span of a wing,
to lift – the arc of her arm –

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