My Ammu

Mother and Child Walking in a Landscape, Charles Émile Jacque

my ammu is big eyes
soaking in the lukewarm stillness
of naptime stories

wild curls spread wide on the pillow
salt and pepper fusilli
they will not be contained

she’s wind chime laughter
and daily twinkles
portioned out mangoes
sachets of sugar
ammu, open your mouth?
ha! ha! ha!

she’s midnight awakenings
moonwaves cupped in her palm
she’s playing tuki from behind the bars
cholo na ekhon bashai jai!
ajke na ammu, kalke, thikase?

my ammu is wobbly wobbly steps
often a london bridge falling down
forgotten limbs roused up in a panic
bursts of meteoric tantrums
short lived but memorable

my ammu is a scholar
who strings syllables and names
like looking at a dusty stamp collection
she forgot she had

she’s nonsense and truth
a loyal playmate of imaginary siblings
who eat daal ruti and ride carriages
around the nostalgia of an old part of town

my ammu is breezy dreams
whistling trains riding bicycles
a morra full of golden eggs
cotton candy clouds in brown irises

my ammu is an artist, too
she has mastered the art of spreading poop
in perfect circular patterns
on her floral bed-sheets

she’s george of the jungle
hanging from ivy tube to ivy tube

her cannulas are watches
and she knows how to dial back time

my ammu can teach you a thing or two
hmm, she can

my ammu is resilience and calm
restlessness and hurry

she is solid and ephemeral
now gone
now come back to surprise

my ammu is a child
swinging across vast universes
arms spread wide to embrace;
a stubborn smile on a death bed

Tamoha Siddiqui is a wanderer, wonderer, teacher, and poet.


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