During the winter months, Baba would sit on his charpai, a woven bed, cocooned in his rose-colored rajai. When I’d bring a bucket of hot coals and place my warm hands on his scrawny beard, the evening glow would descend in his eyes. He’d describe how Maa made the perfect cow dung cakes and pasted them on the walls to dry. Sometimes she’d line them up and call it a procession of stars across the sky. Back then, he’d laugh at her. Now he’d stare at the empty walls with faded circular markings. I’d watch him grow quiet and anxious, as if he was at the threshold of solving a mystery. Then he’d allow me to sit by his side and tell me another story. Our world would rearrange with Maa and a trail of stars. The arc of moon would rise in the corner of our eyes, and like haunted objects the wheat fields would go from green to purple and then black with a swirl of silver around their edges.
Tara Isabel Zambrano lives in Texas and is an Electrical Engineer by profession. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Lunch Ticket, Necessary Fiction, Juked, Parcel, Moon City Review, Gargoyle and others. https://taraisabelzambrano.wordpress.com