(for Ganga, 1937-2016)
“The silence of the dead is easily ignored.”- C. Dale Young
You’ll never be archaeology; they’ll never find your bones.
Cause today, I set you ablaze by the river.
With your ash, I will cast my lot.
And I enter this: The Beloved leaves one behind to die.
Weeping knows no end, but the start is arduous.
Still, I try to find you on the cane chair, where you drank whiskey
– soda, water, and ice, sitting with your hopeful eyes,
eagerly following the headlights of the cars that came your way.
Yesterday, drove from the Acacias to the Cedar beside our gate,
and wondered, who would be waiting by the balcony.
I knew you’d given in to the plight of autumn
even before it arrived.
There will be no summer now.  
“Death is a beautiful place,” they whispered to me,
“no one returns from that realm”.
When I set you ablaze by the river,
while I was busy making ash out of your body,
invisible to my tender eyes, three boys
dived into the river and came running back,
ready to dive again, under the warmth of the September sun.
I, on the other hand, dived into my memories,
the heat of time burned my skin.
Strange to think of you now, gone.
But death had lingered for far too long.
You’d hoped that it came before. By the pyre, twenty-three years when he
died, when you were making ash out of his body,
on the same spot as me, barefoot.
“What did the loss demonstrate?”
I spoke to you, like one speaks to a stone.
Stars die, I know.
I held on to your ring — it fits me perfectly you know?
And now a fading memory – You’re singing Que Sera Sera, along with Doris Day on YouTube, buying ice cream for me, struggling to use your phone.
Death is it, but weeping knows no end.
Yannis said, if you speak to it, it will return.
And so in the bristles of your shaving brush, I look for your smell,
wish that you wake up and astound me,
return, and wait for me by the balcony, tend to your flowers in the garden,
share your filter coffee with me, and for the last time – sing me a song.
But I set you ablaze,
and left no scope for return.

Manan Kapoor

Manan Kapoor is a writer and poet based out of New Delhi.