My self sits in a little glass jar
that I take down from its shelf
every day to examine
for bumps and nicks and cuts
and bruises; I brush off the dust.
In the light, it is a good enough self,
if slightly skittish and slightly wary
of my own inquiring gaze.
It is serviceable enough to inhabit.
Somedays I pet it and prod it
and turn it this way and that
wondering whether it matches
up to other selves on other
Today my self does not want to
leave its jar and instead rolls
listlessly around the glass base.
Quietly, I watch it from outside.
Ammuma brought the moringa maram from Palakkad to Delhi
when she was a young bride, when it was a mere sapling.
It grew, along with her two daughters, into a strong resilient tree
that braved Delhi’s winters and survived Delhi’s summers.
It flourished in the rains.
But Delhi is no longer the Delhi of her youth
and just yesterday evening, the Garden Committee
(along with the Security Committee) of the gated community
she’s lived in since the early years of her marriage
decided to uproot the tree to make space for floodlights.
Ammuma shed a tear when she thought no one was looking.
But if it means safer streets for her daughters’ daughters,
she’ll content herself with memories of the tree.
Meenakshi Nair is a third-generation Malayali from Delhi. She earned her MA in Comparative Literature from SOAS and her poetry has been published by nether Quarterly, VAYAVYA, and Porridge Magazine. Find her @meenusbookcase on Instagram.