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Bird Set Free (Writers’ Corner)


She didn’t know what a vowel was,
Nor could she string together a subject, object and verb.
She couldn’t curve nor twirl her tongue to express
Herself with an English verse oh so poetic, nor could
She differentiate between a plosive and a continuant.

But her back carried stories books
Lack the spine to carry,
Her eyes were mirrors into worlds so far
No author would dare recreate them.
And her smile – oh, how her smile could remind you
Of a thousand sunsets accompanied by the
Tunes of hummingbirds as palm trees danced, swayed,
Curtsied elegantly, gracefully in some serene, divine wind.

She was the manager, after all.

It was she who was the commander.

It was she who was chosen to be his companion,
It was she who turned the empty beer bottles
And shards of glass into mosaics.
It was she who defended her cubs,
It was she who locked the door and held them tight
When his pills took over him.
It was she in whom all strength, courage and safety were
Rooted, grown and nurtured,
It was she who saved them
Though she struggled to match her tenses.

And she, she was the one
Who pulled them out of poverty.
She was the one who worked
the graveyard shift so that at dawn she could
bake those cakes and loaves her little ones loved.

She was the one who sat with them
When they were scared,
Reciting the years and filling in the frustrating sums
When school got tough.
She was the one who they’d run to after the endless
Dance, drawing and swimming lessons,
She was the one who helped them overcome
The obstacles she herself
Would never.

And this all she did without once knowing what a comma or colon was.
Without knowing how to nominalise a verb to a noun nor
Knowing what syntax and diction was.

She was their hero.
She was her own hero.

Broken English, or not.

She was the very seed,
Sun and sunflower
Her time yearned

Arya Banerjee