by Pia Ghosh Roy

(for my parents)

Did you know that the salty deltas that fan out of your eyes
bring me to the sea? That the latitudes between your brows
remind me of the life you sowed and reaped? There are dirt-
roads on your forehead, rough rides of risks that you did not
refuse to take. And estuaries that run from your nose to mouth

dug deep by laughs, grimaces, things that were at stake. Time
is a cartographer of the continents in you, that you pass on
to me. Your past is a map I can navigate by—I sail the bodies
of water that now crease your skin with silken streaks of silt
at the ebb of tide. I hear my echoes bounce off the curved bays

of your cheeks, where in gentle scoops of shadow you moor
memories of storms, of madness and magic, love and loss,
lessons learnt and not learnt, apologies made and almost made.
Your jaw is a peninsula carved of these currents. Your neck lined
with routes entered and exited, decisions carted in boxes heavy

and light. Those routes are my roots. If I cup your face, if I hold
the creased country of your precious face in my hands, if I stroke
these lines and read between them, I can see where I begin. Here,
with this map etched on skin, truer than any map drawn by human
hand, I see that a birthplace is made only of blood and bones.


About the Author:

Pia Ghosh Roy is a writer and artist.

Cover image by Neil Moralee via Flickr (cc).