This Magazine

Progressive politics, ideas & culture

July-August 2018

Mama’s Routine

New poetry by Fazeela Jiwa

Fazeela Jiwa

4 A.M: Awaken. Move slowly to preserve the dream. When it fades, sit up. Meditate on one word for one hour.

5 A.M: Exercise. If bones crack during yoga, use the elliptical first.

6 A.M: Wash, after listening for son’s truck to rumble alive and leave for the day. Bless his inherited armour skin.

7 A.M: Recite first prayer — not according to the inconstant dawn of here but of home, where the staunch sun rises at the same time each day. Remember to pray for the grandchildren, who have lost their faith.

8 A.M: Turmeric water. Call sister. Hang up if her bastard husband answers; she’ll call back when she can.

9 A.M: Set yesterday’s rotli out for the crows, who will always feed their kin. Soak lentils and thaw meat. Order groceries from daughter-in-law as she leaves for the gym, where she takes too long.

10 A.M: Complete five of twenty-two laps through the house. Game show: The Price Is Right. Relive Bob Barker, permit Drew Carey. Chai, porridge. One boiled egg on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

11 A.M: Indian Soap Opera: The Will of the Mother-in-Law. Empathize but do not remember; it’s better that way. Cackle at their misfortune from a distance afforded by time.

12 P.M: English Soap Opera: Days of Our Lives. They have gay characters now. Second prayer of the day.

1 P.M: Walk to the mall. Greet friends, use the bathroom, stare at teenagers, walk back. Notice construction where homes used to be. In the case of precipitation, don’t go outside but add fifteen house laps and unburden PVR.

2 P.M: Indian Soap Opera: My Heart Lies in a Foreign Land. Nowadays the backup dancers are white.

3 P.M: Complete ten of twenty-two house laps. Call brother, laugh. Call son, discuss other son. Speak in English to youngest grandchild, though this limits potential conversation topics.

4 P.M: Cook. Listen to the radio (Rhim Jhim); love the oldies and pretend to love the newbies.

5 P.M: Shower; stare at the mirror. If there is no precipitation, dress for mosque. There’s only a bit of perfume left. Choose red or pink lipstick.

6 P.M: Dinner. Press son’s shoulders tense from labour. Chai, cookies.

7 P.M: Third and fourth prayer of the day, at mosque or at home. If at mosque, catch up with old friends and rivals. If at home, watch the grandchildren with their Apples, which have replaced the mice. What are they always writing, tuk tuk tuk?

8 P.M: If at mosque, return home. Chai. Indian Soap Opera: Togetherness. Complete last of twenty-two house laps.

9 P.M: Indian Soap Opera: The Road I Have Walked. Fast forward through the religious parts.

10 P.M: Yell at the grandchildren in the kitchen if they have bought outside food. Bid goodnight to the family. Scowl if they say Peace Out instead of Pir Shah. Recite fifth prayer of the day from bed.

11 P.M: In the case of plaguing memories, meditate on one word until dreams come.

By night, Fazeela Jiwa is an eavesdropping poet and, by day, she is an acquisitions and development editor with a radical press, Fernwood Publishing. Reach her at

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