“Grandma”A Poem by Bhuwan Thapaliya

She rose from her makeshift rustic bed

and strained her eyes in the morning sun

shining through termite-eaten windows.

Drank a glass of basil water and then made

her way up a trail on a tough terrain

 to the forest overlooking the Sunkoshi River

 to collect fodder for her cattle.

An old kerosene lamp hangs in the window

of an abandoned building and carved wooden deities

flank a rickety gate. Poor eyesight, back permanently bent

from the burden of heavy loads, feet deformed

and ravaged by walking barefoot on rough terrain,

she looked older than her ancestral deity on a hilltop nearby.

Dry corn leaves rustled underfoot. She picked one

and rubbed it in her palms, smiling at herself

and kneeled down to quench her thirst from a

little burbling creek neighboring her path.

Thereafter, she hastened her pace humming

her favorite song, sung by her mother

when she was young.

“Plant a tree, then another, then many more. 

Maybe we will be able to cleanse the world.”

Every time when she hums this song,

she feels her mother humming it with her too.  

Whistling, she walked deep inside the forest 

and soon her doko was fully fodder crammed.

She looked at the deep blue sky and grinned

as a little girl with rhododendron flowers

in her hands high up in the Himalayas

and then sauntered slowly down the hill,

carrying heavy doko on her back with the namlo straps

on her forehead smiling at her neighbors

showing her uneven teeth, as they prepare

to spread animal fertilizer on their fields.

On the back of her polka-dotted cow,

there was a little bird.

The cows mooed loudly after seeing her.

She fed the cattle and then went inside the kitchen

to cook dal, bhat and tarkari.

In the adjoining room, her hungry children were

already getting ready for their school. 



Bhuwan Thapaliya is a poet writing in English from Kathmandu, Nepal. He works as an economist and is the author of four poetry collections. His poems have been published in Wordcity Literary Journal, Pendemics Literary Journal, Poetry Life and Times, Trouvaille Review, Life in Quarantine: Witnessing Global Pandemic Initiative(Witnessing Global Pandemic is an initiative sponsored by the Poetic Media Lab and the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis at Stanford University), International Human Rights Art Festival, Poetry and Covid: A Project funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council, University of Plymouth, and Nottingham Trent University, Pandemic Magazine, The Poet, Valient Scribe, Strong Verse, Jerry Jazz Musician, VOICES ( Education Project), Longfellow Literary Project, Poets Against the War among many others

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