In my daughter's home,
on a recent visit
I found these cushion covers
still in use.
The stitches are worn through
in many places, and should be
as I'd made them some twelve or
thirteen years ago.......
(I still have have the 18" steel ruler
with which I drew the lines, with tailor's chalk).
My mother-in-law had fractured her hip
And we had to wait a few days
for a home nurse to come and stay with us.
I'd be in her room for most of the day
leaving her only to cook for the family
or to go to the corner shop for vegetables
while the part-time help sat with her.
I might have read, but maybe not.
I could embroider a simple running stitch
while listening to her stories
of long ago, and attending to her needs.
It was probably a blouse piece that
was lying around the house,
that beautiful flat in Kochi
with strangely shaped rooms.
I would surely not have had the time to go shopping
for cushion cover material!
Biji came, the first home nurse in our lives
this Malayali girl who knew a bit of Hindi
Who could handle her patient with care
And they'd manage, somehow,
I've always wondered at the strangeness
of life, what takes you where,
where you live, where you die.
It's just so strange that this
rosy cheeked lady
from the North West Frontier Province,
who lived in many cities
mostly in the north of the country
spent the last three years of her life
in a part of the country that had never
figured in her life before...........