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Inside my Grandmother’s Bag
By Nirmal Kaur

Bebe clutches her bag to her chest as if it was a crown:

she steps out of the taxi, into the bustling airport,

leaving behind sleet-silver pavements, coal-black clouds.

The fog of her breath hangs in the air.


Bebeh’s bag strapped across her shoulder,

away from prying eyes. Her footprints imprinted

on the dust of Punjab.


Bebeh leaves behind the cows lying mid-road,

the blaring sound of rickshaw horns,

the trumpet screams of peafowl,

dancing like leaves in a whirlwind.


Bebeh covers her bag with her cashmere shawl,

from the monkeys that grabbed necklaces and palak paneer rolls.


Bebeh pats her bag, waltzes like Maharani into Aujla pend.

She reaches the acres of lizard-green fields

where the village women wait.  She unzips her bag,

pulls out a foil parcel she lovingly unwraps:

Stuffed potato flatbread she breaks for everyone. 

The women sniff, pass the pieces around

until there is nothing left but licking, and greasy fingers.


Bebeh says, Cooked by my granddaughter-in-law from England!

Their whispers rustle like yellow jasmines in the hot air.

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