in packing my bags for college I found
a half-modelled wing of a fighter jet, bearing a small crest of
the Indian Air Force. it sat, still, at the back of forgotten
family albums, painted in olive and soft yellow, colours
of childhood, the edges lacquered smooth, the incomplete
wing carefully constructed. written on the back of it:
"FIRST CHILD DUE TOMORROW – OCT 93"
I turned it over in my hands, thinking of the ones
that assembled it with careful precision––
between the pieces of unassembled airplane, paint
brush from paint, is the self of the grown man pouring
himself out onto the corners he could never reach, the
change of resolve, the weight of three daughters, an
ill wife. the sky crumpled, a flight path disrupted.
when the time comes my father would want to be small.
small enough to fly away on one of the palm-sized planes
he loved as a boy but lost time with, keeping them
hidden, as if in waiting, sitting patiently
in boxes too high up for my sisters
and I to reach. it was a secret already
known, but leaving trails of small
structure behind, waiting
for my growing hands to
as if he wanted me
to know him, as if
to know him.
By Jasmine GohQLRS Vol. 16 No. 4 Oct 2017