The Firefly I Knew | Rysha Sultania

The Firefly I Knew | Rysha Sultania

“Amma, amma, come, let’s light some ‘phooljhadi!’”

My childhood sings like a siren in my mind, with burning intensity

“Shush na, raaja, Amma is busy now.”

But her voice is sparkling bright and loud. A lot louder.

I see her squatting by the front door, eyes trained to her feet

Colour taints her sari. Red and yellow and pink and green.

She strings fairy lights like she does her rich beads

Invite light home she says, I invite her joy to my dreams  

I see her bent over the lantern, her bentness the only thing I recall

Apart from the faint glow of orange that winds around her like a halo.

She lights the lamps, the oil mixing with her sweat after a day of toil

The glow hugs her, while I so badly wish to.

“Aiiyo Rama!” She curses at the mound of stubborn flour

The veins in her tired hands popping as she kneads it

She lights the stove, igniting her role as the nourisher

The flame licks at her, burning her snow crusted fingers, the pain somehow stings me 

“Raaja, come na, let me comb your hair,” I go and sit.

She looks at me and burns the back of a spoon.

 “To ward off the evil eye.”

I smile at her, the best beam I can afford

Her eyes light up to greet me, dulling sunlight and moonshine too.

“Amma is with you raaja, nothing is wrong. You’ll be fine. He’ll be fine” 

 The tears drown, the dripping kajal rivulets stain and bleed like tar

My glowing vitals on the gleaming monitor lock her until flickers relief 

Her deep womanly laugh emits. It seeps into every corner of me. 

In the night, I remember her perched by the sofa, almost clandestine

She waits for these moments that are hers, and hers alone

Her dusky beauty shines under the glare of the bedside lamp

She reads her silent novel, I read her silently. 

The light of her soul warms me, its brilliance never fails to stun

Then fickle life ebbed and flickered, then the soul dimmed away

I greet her with the timber lit by the flame of grief 

The fire engulfs her, her memory engulfs me.


Written by Rysha Sultania

8 thoughts on “The Firefly I Knew | Rysha Sultania

  1. Rysha…the words tumbling out so mellifluously and the characters coming alive through the verses!
    A beautiful emotional connect to the umbilical cord portrayed here!

  2. A torrent of words tumbling out so mellifluously and the characters coming alive in the brilliant verses. An emotional connect with the umbilical cord, the light of our lives.

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