Asha Naznin is a multilingual poet who kicked off her performance of English-language poetry in 2016. She has been the featured poet at a number of events around Canberra, Australia, including those hosted by Mother Tongue Multilingual Poetry and That Poetry Thing. Her poem ‘Flying Home’ (below) was performed first in 2018 for That Poetry Thing at Smith’s Alternative. Catch her next at Manning Clark House on March 26!
Mum brings home
when she is here.
Lunch is served with boiled rice, fried eggs, fried onions,
hot chilies, mashed potatoes dressed with fresh coriander
and mustard oil. Olive pickles are in the garden
to be sun-soaked properly, meanwhile, they are on every plate.
We all eat as if we have never eaten before.
I wonder if mother means migration or nomadic, or a flute of regret?
Her womb, which she portrays as my first home, I never remember.
Her breasts, which I can only see covered now, I can’t recall – I lived
on those for years.
Her house, which I thought my home—from summer to winter to spring,
where pink curtains, painted pink walls, hundreds of family photos
dictated ‘the fairy tale of a home’,
there was no wind. There were beautiful windows though!
I will never tell you how I escaped to my grandma’s village
‘Come on my little girl, this house is all empty, give it a life now, see I have
a beautiful pond, you can swim here, stay with me please’
After a year, I had to leave her to catch my dream.
Ha! that old lady taught me, ‘dreams do fly, you must run after them
to make them come true’
Mum is still after me, every time she flies here, she says on my doorstep,
‘don’t you miss me? don’t you miss home?’
Grandma, now in her 90s, can’t fly! She smiles on the wall
of my living room, which I call home.
She just doesn’t get to see it, though!
Mum brings home with butterflies.
This morning when I was putting butter on my bread, she arrived
with a beautiful red Saree,
blue and brown butterflies are painted on it. She whispered,
‘Your grandma made this for you
before she went to her own home, her graveyard.
You know, it’s next to that little pond where you used to swim’.
I am swimming
into my eyes,
I am decorating
my little boy
© Asha Naznin, 2018