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Father's Fingers
by Mukul Dahal

Father's fingers lie next to the images
of the deities in Mother’s puja room.

They are subtle shapes that lie
mute in tiny, pale volumes of Lokta paper.

Mother says:

your papa burned diyalo,
stole letters from darkness.

He wedded Lokta paper to a bamboo pen.
I see her cracked fingertips swinging in reflection

and imagine their past in 1920's and later:

the insulated nation, dumbed people;
did they know and care about the world wars at all?

Did they hear the lion's roars
that shook the air outside the frontiers?

The hills, madhesh, cattle, and the war,
Father's Sanskrit, priesthood and demise.

Father’s self-printed fingers
have lengthened in time.
I sneak into the sacred room and touch them.  

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