Mother of Unnecessary Sorrows


in Punjabi poetry it’s a literary tradition to address your Mother with existential questions and to register grievances and woes. One could say it’s a communion with the Universe.

or, in my case, a real mother…


How sad

that you never

saw a water monitor,

Mother, how sad!

On green waves

it scatters jasmines to weave

a radiant banners of leaves,

like your wedding braid

plying the wind.


A handful of violet light

from sightings of many moons

is what remains between us.


How beautiful

the song of red and gold flowers

Mother, in a quiet hollow.

Where you bloomed

and when, no one knows.


Once,

in an ancient room,

a Jinn called out to you

and you fell screaming.

It was I

who decades later,

stilled your

nightmare tremblings.

Mother,

my heart is full of blithe

forest gods and spirits —

how can such things be?

How sad

Mother,

that a brilliant orchid

never slept between your fingers,

how sad that

a rainforest sun never

pierced your toes

nor fomented your breasts.


How ignoble,

my Mother of unnecessary sorrows,

that you forsook me

so long ago.

So easily.

How strange mother,

to see a monkey leap from

tree to tree, a baby clutched

to its bosom.

Drink it,

you commanded,

and gave me poison.

Then I smelled incense

and heard you pray.

How magnificent,

Mother, a peacock draped

on a tree and crocodiles

dreaming below!

Rubies and sapphires

in platinum like cruel laughter:

your peacock brooch,

Mother, that could only draw blood.

And now

life will not have you,

death will not have you.

Ah,

but that much

we have in common!

With a great deal of tumult

the world

will bare questions when,

in the shadow of your passing,

a hawk will sing,

the hard edge of grimness

will hold you

and I

will be far away.

Farida Haque

Jk Mansi anna breslin Jeff Suwak WysWoman (Jean Kennerson) umair haque Anneyé Blanco Dennett Zev Zarina Dara 🥀💃🏻 Jack Preston King @