At My Mother’s Grave in the Putnam Valley —

7000 Miles from Where She Was Born

by Rafiq Kathwari

Mother, I thought I heard an echo
of your rousing words —

“My Life Is Ahead of Me”—

Wrinkles mapped your face
after you flew
from the Kashmir Valley where—
long as I remember—
you raged for a life of dignity —
again losing your mind . . .

Seventy-three is the same age you were
when you spoke those words, yet
mapping my life ahead, I wonder

how stirring now must be
your echo across eternity!

Maryam Kathwari, March 5, 1924 ‑— March 31, 2020