My daughter, eight, looked at me
with eyes: half-enquiring, half-afraid,
eyes with faith, half, at least,
and asked suddenly: Are we born again after death?
I looked at my wife. Our eyes met.
She smiled: that corners of the eyes,
so-it-did-happen smile, and I knew
it was not she who dropped
a hint to the child
of death or birth, or both.
I did not, I know. We don’t discuss death
at home, especially with children
awake or around: never with them around.
No, not death, the old enemy, no talks
in the recent past with anyone.
Death horrifies me.
So, I sat back,
took a pause,
filled my eyes with light and strength,
that fills the eyes of those
with half-faith, at least,
and told her boldly that half-lie:
‘No, you don’t have to die if you say no to death’.
I knew I was half-true.
Tricks language plays!