Richa Dinesh Sharma


My parents’ home is far away
I am so distant from it
Yet somehow, I visit in my dreams
that courtyard with a guava tree
the seat of my childhood 
the swings from the laden tree
not just the guava tree, a mango and sweet lime too
Hammocks of my mother’s sarees
Some cotton and some silks, she loved
those hammocks for my afternoon adventures
I was a pirate, sometimes a fugitive-scientist
The trees would hide me well
They concealed my fallacies too
letting me be me
Sometimes, I’d tire and doze off
In that precious childish slumber
under the diaphanous foliage
lit like a thousand lamps
by the scorcher in the sky above 
I was the carried off from under my trees
Into my mother’s bed, ritually,
my body never knew the difference
that dirt was as cool to touch
as soft and even as my mother’s arms
That courtyard was my botany lab
my place to write stories
it was also my space to imagine
to form my own theories
My life-sized terrarium
it lived in me for as long as I in it
I think it knew me well
That courtyard knew the sound of my feet
How I know that it knew, I cannot tell
It was changed in places
Concretised too,
when I met it last,
lost its trees and its spirit too
just some bushes and hedges
like an apology to the space
I took off my heels
and touched the dirt again
the courtyard seemed amnesiac at first
then warmed to the touch of my soles
my palms that gathered the scattered leaves
my sighs that filled it in
those years that I was gone
I shared with this haven
lowered my head in gratitude
for the love that I felt
this courtyard will be my home
for a longer than I live
It’s given me my childhood
so, to it, parts of my soul, I give

Richa Dinesh Sharma is a writer, poet and a stay home mother of three based out of Singapore. She has been writing since childhood but more publicly over the last two years. She draws mandalas, paints watercolours, runs, and learns French when she’s not writing or reading. Most of her writing is evoked by feelings, events, passage of time, and processes of human experience as the world unfurls. She has contributed to several anthologies by Sweetycat Press, Garden of Neuro Institute, and Prolific Pulse Press. Her poems have also appeared in FineLines Winter 2021 and Spring 2022 issues, Our Poetry Archives, and OpenDoor Poetry magazine.