She walks around, like a ghost,

picking stray toys off the floor;

putting pieces and people in place.

Fresh, laundered clothes on the line,

neat rows of flowers in the garden,

diya flickering amongst incense sticks,

delicious warmth of the dining table

bear testimony to her presence.

And yet, she remains absent

in the clockwork of her household.

Visible only to complaining eyes –

‘too salty’, ‘still dirty’, ‘so crass and loud’!

She goes on nevertheless, relentless.

Until one day she stops

putting pieces and people in place.

The ghost – now real in absentia.

Her flowers long dry, she lingers on

in all the yet unfinished chores.

Her presence thickly hangs around

the picture on the wall.