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for father, on his birthday

Anushree Joshi

there is no charm in parenthood anymore--

who would give a part of their heart

to this brutal universe with no time to mourn

what its sober apathy splinters apart.

you walk me to the bus-stop, some july morning

of a decade ago, i ask you if you like purple or blue

you laugh and we're there-- is there a hurry--

baba, how will i know you?

i doubt fatherhood is ever enough, let alone fulfilling--

your face stays in memory, year-after-year

luminescent with an absurd joy-- in the crowd, so proud, clapping

at every silly school prize-giving.

this life has now known you for 51 years,

i, for 20 and as long as you dreamt me--

a piece of you i carry in the stories, reminiscence-gushing rivers,

in the recipes you cooked after the day

beat you down, the books in the library

you built me to never be without a shelter

of words with love, laugh, grief, grace, dignity.

perhaps giving birth isn't the charm of parenthood

in a fast-dying fascist world, but the legacy

of unlearning what you knew, so you could

grow all over again, with a fragment of your self,

becoming whole and new, outside of your body.

Future of the Past by Qadir Jhatial—(2019, synthetic enamel on canvas, 45 x 30 inches)


Anushree Joshi is a student of English literature at Lady Shri Ram College in New Delhi and is particularly interested in studying and analysing the intersections between culture, cinema, and literature, focusing upon the Indian subcontinent. She has two years of years of journalistic experience working at India’s largest independent student-run newspaper—DU Beat, where she was the print editor. She has worked upon academic criticism and research pertaining to a feminist reading of Indian Partition texts, popular culture, Romantic poetry and cinema studies. Her work has been published in Muse India, South Asian Popular Culture, Kitaab, The Literary Herald, The Wire, Terribly Tiny Tales, Film Companion, Amazon Audible and Jabberwock LSR.


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