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“Chhanna,” the Metal Bowl
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
Amarjit Chandan is the author of several books of poetry and essays in Punjabi and English, including The Parrot, the Horse and the Man (Arc Publications, 2017) and Sonata for Four Hands (Arc Publications, 2010).