(A poem based on the four members of a family from a village in India, who froze to death just steps from the US border, in January, this year). Kavita Ezekiel Mendonca What desperate dreams drive Those who leave home, hearth, village To move to a strange new land? What price to pay walking through icy fields In cruel wintry darkness of night Temperatures below minus thirty Windchills freezing bodies to death? What desperate dreams drive Those with children so young To leave behind the familiar, the sacred? What choice of clothing that failed to protect To make them a footprint in the snow Wiped out by the chilling night? No chance of survival. What desperate dreams drive Those who believe hope is elsewhere? There is no green grass here It’s the triumph of snow The season hangs on icicles of loneliness When summer flowers bloom Your dreams will lie buried. What the desperate timing you chose To fulfil those dreams? Now you must survive in thoughts Of those left behind The stone mantlepiece holds your photographs In the village home The warmth of memories In each face. When the fire dies down The heart misses a beat You remain a footprint In the faraway snow It will not return you To your village home Where there is no snow The grass is mostly green.
Kavita Ezekiel Mendonca has been a teacher of English, French and Spanish for over four decades in colleges in India, and private schools overseas. She is a published poet, with poems in journals and anthologies, including the Yearbook of Indian Poetry in English, and The Journal of Indian Poetry in English by Sahitya Akademi. Her debut collection ‘Family Sunday and other Poems’ was published in 1989. Her chapbook ‘Light of the Sabbath’ was published in September 2021.