I stood behind the counter of our local post-office watching them sort the mail in the morning.

White bags, imprinted in the red rectangular box with yellow lines,

carrying stamped dreams, anger, sorrow, memories, anxieties, joys and queries,

of husbands, wives, lovers, friends, sisters, brothers, in-laws, job-seekers, match-makers,

widowers, uncles, aunts, cousins,

and whoever that stepped inside and outside genealogical and professional contours of life.

Five pairs of hands sorted them, address and pin-codes to point the way.

I dimly remembered the last time I received one of those,

eighteen years ago-

a green envelope addressed to myself, ‘D/o of so and so’,

life and love breathed in the spaces within,

hidden under the lines.

As I stepped outside the dingy room,

I turned around and looked at the empty sacks which lay around,

waiting for the next line of letters to fill them, bloat them up

like my distant uncle’s belly after the mid-day meal.

For now, these bags resembled me,

who stood waiting by the shores of longing for many years,

and finally left deflated, wounded and torn,

the sender unknown!



Nithya Mariam John, from Kottayam, Kerala, is a poet by passion and a teacher by profession. Her writings and translations have been showcased in several magazines. Nithya Mariam John has three poetry collections to her name – Bleats and Roars, Reflections & Ruminations: A Pinch of Poetry & Perspectives and Poetry Soup. She was one of the translators and editors of the book Vaidehiyude Cherukathakal.
Image courtesy: Bishnu Sarangi from Pixabay

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