We sat in her room on her bed
With her things spread
All around us little memories
Gifts collected over decades
Sarees, shawls, sunglasses
A wooden box with an elephant head

Her granddaughters, grown women
Take turns choosing their favorites
The youngest gets the first pick
Each one eyes the one they want
An impression of Nani, a moment with Ba
They will never forget

Unable to hold back, one of them asks
“Can I take this one?”
There is a silent discussion
Non-verbal negotiation
“No you”
“No. You.”

Pens!
So many pens that Nani collected
For us they were always the easiest gift
I picked my favorite —
Short, wide, black, and gold
Silver cap and a smooth hold

My fingers wrap its shiny rim
I sit here at home looking
For words to write
There is a weight to Nani’s pen
Her tiny fingers, abundant love
Tiny frame with so much strength

There was a clarity in her voice
In Gujarati, in English
She expressed herself
She loved speaking
She loved dancing
She loved her grandchildren to death

They slept with her, they harassed her
They kept her on edge
She complained, she frowned
She sometimes yelled
There was always something
Pandukaka had not done so well

At Cosmo dinners she sat
Often quiet, surrounded by family
Next to Vikram
Holding Nirupa’s hand
Pankaj on her lap
She contemplated bigger things

We sat on her bed
Surrounded by love
We took little pieces
Of her life, her strength
We carry her with us
Trinkets, coins, fragments

Head massages
And so many pens.

Poetry and whatever else comes to mind