Jewel of India

By Sadiqa de Meijer Sadiqa de Meijer
From the dim hallway, walls swollen with summer damp.

Concave threshold to the morning’s livid light.

When my father said Gerrard Street East, his voice.

The passing subway tremors upwards, into me, reverberates in 
ligaments and membranes.

On canvas shoes through minor parks, a pinball in a rudderless machine.

My father, transiently animate. Funny in the ebbing language, 
bantering with shopkeepers.

A lifeguard pours bleach in the fractured blue wading pool, sloshes it out with her legs.

If  I could, I’d view a produce stand as he did, fill a paper bag with dillweed, bitter melon, ladyfingers.

Miraculous reversal poster in the window of the Portuguese 

Who lived where he never resembled somebody.

Belled, metal restaurant elephant. They’re barely open. The woman fills and seals samosas in the uproar of a standing fan.

I have tea. Father, dayflower, I keep arriving at this dead end where the menu says exotic, stamped with sickle chilis.

The fan blades clatter frantically in their cage. A ghetto blaster spools ghazals.

Her husband, over the counter, shouts: The pavements here are very bad. You must take your walks on the pitch, in circles. This is what all of us do.

Source: Poetry (July/August 2013).


This poem originally appeared in the July/August 2013 issue of Poetry magazine

July/August 2013
 Sadiqa  de Meijer


Sadiqa de Meijer’s first book of poems is Leaving Howe Island (Oolichan Books, 2013). A portion of the manuscript won the CBC Poetry Prize in 2012. She lives with her family in Kingston, Ontario.

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Social Commentaries, Cities & Urban Life, Race & Ethnicity

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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