Poem by Tulasi Acharya

My father-in-law never preferred sons
To his only two daughters who were
“My sons and their husbands now in total
Make four sons of mine, I am content,”
He said in my every meeting with him.
“They told me to marry another woman for a son
Or bear another child that could be a son”
Who they thought is worth and essential,
When the parent dies, for the death ritual.

“Let me get back to my normal health
And only you and I will walk up the hill,
Talk, laugh, kid, booze, and chill,” he said.
He had been sick since he and I met.
Days and months just passed by
With his neighbors “hello” and “hi”

He always lay on the veranda
Basking in the sun of winter
Listening to the bell of the temple nearby
Watching the motorcycles and passers-by
His name was the reputation ones gain
In town, he was an example of a man.

Alas, one morning, he lost his wife who died very young
Then he realized death is very unkind and took the wrong one.
“The root is gone, I am just a branch,” he said.
In five months, after his wife’s death, he too left.

His dream to walk up the hill with me still remains partial
When I see his smile in a hanging frame against the wall.

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