A Questionnaire for My Grandpa – Freeverse
How long did you cradle me
in your calloused hands before I ceased
my newborn shenanigans and fell asleep?
Did the others notice your papery hair
already freckled with greys that’d put
the overcast skies to shame?
Did they notice the cracks on your skin
that became a home for newfound love
and sleep deprivation?
What did you dream about when you slept
for those meagre three hours
before you woke up to machines
Did you dream about me growing wings
and flitting through the pink sky
towards your mollycoddling voice?
Or did you dream about long slumbers
on abandoned machinery
while your co-workers chanted,
‘Why does he do a woman’s job?
He’s not even the father of the baby.’
Where did you stash away
your health-conscious apprehensions
when you walked my 3-year-old self
to the ice cream parlour at 10 PM daily?
Did you, too, gorge on the five-rupee Vanilla cup?
I don’t remember.
Or did you prefer butterscotch?
Shame that I never asked you.
On days the parlour was closed,
where did you take me to?
How angry were you when I lost
yet another pencil and apologized?
Were you disappointed that I wasn’t
disciplined enough to be careful?
Or were you scared that the world would
run out of my favourite pencils
and you’d have to convince me
with a newer, better brand?
How anxious were you when you realized
that my writing pad had scratches
and you rushed to get me a new one
on the morning of my first exam?
Did you love the floating book fair?
Well, it took me 15 years to know
that the ship was named Doulos
and it was then ninety-one years old.
Did you buy any books for yourself,
you the greatest encyclopaedia
I have ever known?
What did you feel when I chose
The Enchanted Castle over
the science activity book that you selected?
What were you thinking when the
waves splashed at our feet
and I was penning my first poem in Pondicherry?
Did you want to take a peek
to read what I was writing?
Or were you engaged in some
long-lost memory that invoked your
dormant dreams and charred wishes?
Were you thinking about grandma?
Were you thinking about UFOs?
Were you thinking about the eye exercises?
God, I can never find out.
Grandpa, what will I do with this
growing fear as every year passes?
How can I dislodge myself from such
foreboding thoughts that plant
seeds of anxiety in my otherwise well mind?
Grandpa, have you read any of my poems?
If not, read this one.
And, if you can, please answer them.
©Kavya Janani. U
If you love my poems, please consider purchasing a copy of my poetry collection – La Douleur Exquise.
You can check out my other freeverse poems here: Freeverse Poems by Kavya Janani. U