Beautiful.
It would have been,
and it can be; shall I permit it to.
My existence;
like the solitary lantern that still hangs
on grandmother’s porch.
Its wick as black as the sins they
tell us we’ve committed
on the way to being the lords of moral fiefdom.
Its glass dull like the
cataract in my grandfather’s
left eye.
He never complains and still cycles to
the market to buy raw mangoes
for the pickle she likes to still eat;
even after 66 years of marriage.
We’ve tried to drag him to
the hospital many times, yet
he’d never come. “The world still seems just as
beautiful as it was  75 years ago.”, he says.
Then why not my life? I wonder.
Still the solitary lantern hangs in there; be it
wind, shine or rain,
or even ignorance.
I’m lit once or twice when there’s no electricity
and at times they don’t even strike
a match to my heart.
My grandparents enjoy the moonlight as much as
I do.
Beautiful.
It would have been
and it can be; shall I permit to
be taken off the porch and die a timely death.
Because, sometimes you have to die
to live.
Every summer I visit them; and
it’s still there;
the lantern.
Although not dirtier than before, but a little
older.
You can tell by the way time has passed on it leaving behind
age and imprints like writings in a stray book.
You can tell that relatives have visited
bringing
casual stories about their neighbourhood,
and their orchards.
You can tell that the electricity hasn’t gone for days;
the lantern hasn’t glowed;
its wick is dry; like the guilt of the sins we committed
on our way to becoming lords of moral fiefdom.
You can also tell that grandmother
has been on the porch more often
than usual; she’s been cleaning
waiting
for you to arrive.
You can tell
time has passed over the lantern.
It is wearing out.
Little by little, though.
It still has elders to take care of it.
Would it be the same had it been on its own?
Maybe worse.
Maybe better.
Who knows?
The sunrise is still as bright;
and the sunset is still as beautiful.
Beautiful.
It would have been
and it can be; shall I permit to;
My existence;
like the solitary lantern that still hangs
on grandmother’s porch.
It could have been intelligent.
Was it not? Isn’t it?
If it hadn’t been measuring itself
up against the light bulb, or
the tube light, or
even the sunshine.
It could have had its own charm.
Has it not? Doesn’t it already?
It’s the subject of my poem.
Grandmother’s lantern.
She may not use it often;
but she hasn’t thrown it out.

-Sameen