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by Mukul Dahal

I was quite young when I made a house of my own.
A tiny, little hut of delight, stood next to
a tall sturdy house that belonged to my father.
Everyday the shadow of that tall house
came towards me
and crashed over my littleness.
I bored holes on the roof of my hut.
At night, I stole out through them
to wrap myself in the moon’s milky shawl.
I called the rain in to take a shower.
I did not know why my father was so unhappy
about the holes on the roof, why he tried so much
to keep out the rain,
why he built walls around his life.
My hut had no bounds.
I could not see what thoughts
made his hair shine and moustache quiver.

One day he gave me his moustache and beard,
and limped out of his house never to return.
I did shaving everyday to wipe away
the dry grass of age from my face,
but it kept coming back.
I did not know when I was stolen away
from the house of my delight.

All these years have pushed me away,
but I love looking back at my hut.
It still stands where it was,
next to the tall house of my father.
Both vacant, they have moved closer now,
father’s arms around my shoulders,
and green grass of recollections, covering their yards.


absolute winner, nosside international poetry contest 2009


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