Poem165: my father’s study is a graveyard…

always half open

or maybe half closed

the door only allowed me

a few stolen glimpses

i could see him searching frantically

never knew what it was

i was never allowed inside

children must stick to their own room

and not pry around

as was the rule in my house

i tried to follow it

as much as my heart allowed

the memory never left my mind

as i could never find

what it was that kept father up at nights

i heard screaming silences

when he worked alone in there for hours

i swear i heard voices at times

was it in my head or

those books he devoured?

father never noticed

how i waited around the corners

to chance upon a sneak

and explore the world

he kept so hidden

what was it

that a father won’t tell his daughter

unless it was something about me

curiosity was untethered

and now i too couldn’t sleep at times

two sides of the door

one his, one mine

and then one day

the opportunity came

‘bring the medicine and touch nothing else’ he said

it was his sickness that made him

weak and less scared

i promised without meeting his eyes

as i took the key and hurried on right

once inside his study,

all my curiosities amplified

a hundred tragedies lay bare

oh, what a world I’d imagined all this while

my child mind couldn’t make much

of the hundred or so letters

written in love-stricken ink

an ode to someone beloved

around me was a carnival

of worn sarees in colours gay

and earrings and gems and anklets

now forgotten and uncared

i treaded through my findings

touched some, some i didn’t dare

who was this enigma

the mystery was still unclad

the room was a living nightmare

with books torn and strewn

i hadn’t before seen such an apocalypse

like a tornado come and gone

i swallowed a million lumps

as i looked for the muse of the mayhem

in this mess of a lifetime

i couldn’t find a worthy face

i never got a chance again

to satisfy the growing urge

my childhood was forever scarred

by my father’s secret charade

i sit in my own study tonight

as i write this poem – a late regard

thinking about the night i discovered

that my father’s study was a graveyard