on mom for dad


when she heard the mangoes

on the backyard are falling

she always asked you

“are they ripe

or they no longer wish to keep


but your body has been, for many years,

remained silent in a photograph,

a body with no blood.

for your living body has gone,

walked to unknown towns.

but she kept smiling and was convinced

the further you go the deeper you get into

her soul’s filled with spring.

she is patient as a well.


she finally bought a cell phone

though she doesn’t have your number

behind the wall i always heard

she asked you to talk

with trembling lips

“my husband, bring your lips

to the phone. closer. closer … ”


i think in these months the rain

only grains of water that move up

and down.

turn the yard and streets

to a ragged sea.

no voyage is able to arrive.

but she never turned

her belief about the rain:

wet light, her watery eyes and yours.

your eyes at upstream,

hers at downstream.


every morning she always woke me up

and told her same old dream

the stars grow in the sea

and you come take her fishing

at the bright wide sky.


before going to bed i always looked

at her eyes, asking without words.

and she knows the answer to the question

i keep on repeating

“waiting is a noble job, son.

so, now leave…“


we went to the beach.

she lied on the sand like a stranded clam

and the wind kissed a grain of pearl

from her sparkling chest.

she said you are a diver

who survived the abyss

that’s why she always came to the beach

waiting for you to breathe in

life from her heart.


she always cooks with her fragrant hair,

neatly combed and tied.

she always remembers one night, a month

before i was born, you spill the

cook and anger for finding

a string of hair got lost in a bowl of basil leaves.

she serves food wearing

smile and flowery clothes.

every day. as if you’ll come

and hungry.

she prays and eat quietly as she spoke

about the weather and glanced at the television.

she always worries about your health

and whereabout.


she likes to sit in front of the mirror

killing her own face with a wet breath

then remove it by her own hand,

replace it with a prettier face.

i often stand behind her

so that she found my face

in front of her, sad and watery.

she will turn around, smiled and said:

crying is an effort to laugh harder.

go on, cry!


she circled each number on the calendar,

bind them so as not to loose

and by the end of the year she counted

as treasure. that’s how she

taught me to save.

be patient, she says, there would be a time

to withdrawn and have a party for the whole family.


she kept singing lullabies to her

eyes and pulse, and in my dream

i saw angels cheerfully

flew and perched from tone to tone.

i always sleep wearing smile

knowing that she was always in love

to thee.


at dusk when she heard the news of your death,

pair of her eyes weren’t burning like hell.

eyes, she said, is a heaven for grief

while the grief is a soft and moist joy

mother always put you

in her heaven, dear father.

– diterjemahkan oleh Fatima Alkaff dari puisi berjudul ‘Menulis Ibu untuk Ayah’

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