Photo: Instagram antoniosaba_photography

No water No water,
he said daily after the stroke, all day.
Don’t give me water.

We used water to shampoo
half his crown,
his hair matted since the surgery.
I poured water from a red mug behind him
I asked remember the swimming?
He was a major in the army and a water polo player who dove into a dark lake
one summer night forty years ago, searching for a comrade
after a motor boat picnic went awry.
Next I dipped his feet one by one in the basin,
patting his foot tops with palm scooped water
like his village boys did to the backs of buffalo sitting
in sunny green ponds like black rocks.

Feel it dad. 
We arranged him in his bed.
With moist strands on his left shoulder,
he was quiet.

Navneet Bhullar is a physician, poet and essayist who currently lives in California and her native Punjab, India. She is a water sign who is now immersed in spending time with her father Lt Col SS Bhullar, her soulmate and beacon of the inner life. He passed away this February 4 after a second stroke. She has met no one else who quoted verse in three languages verbatim.

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Issue 16

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