“Chhanna,” the Metal Bowl

Amarjit Chandan

 

translated by Sarabjeet Garcha

Clocks books and keepsakes
never tell what the time now is
inside them the clock strikes 11 after 1 
before 1 there’s zero

the flat-bottom metal bowl
balanced on the mantelpiece roils
letting out sounds as if
slipping out of hand a filled cup
has just emptied itself
or as if at midnight a cat
is raking darkness in a kitchen corner
or as if quaffing her thirst Mother
has just set the bowl down

this bowl is older than i
it is filled with memories
like salt dissolved in yogurt milk
Father licks his greased mustache
Mother giggles at something she recalls
from times long past

the cracked bowl is her only heirloom
the chhayapatra hovering in a nook
always holds my mother in the folds
of remembrance