The Things on the Roof

by Ajay Patri

When his mother passed away, he wrapped her body in linen and placed it on the roof. It was difficult to find the space for her in the middle of all the things the roof had collected over the years. The second-hand Toyota Corolla, his unfinished college application, the phone number of a former girlfriend, his first pair of glasses from third grade, a wristwatch with Mickey Mouse on the dial, currency notes from the country his mother had emigrated from, the lease deed to the trinkets store she used to run, the little finger from his right hand, his grandfather’s voice on the telephone, the telephone itself, the lullaby his mother used to sing him to sleep with when he was a child, and the first milk tooth he ever lost.

He cried a lot after losing that tooth. His mother kissed him on the brow and told him to go place the bloody incisor on the roof. She promised him it would come back.

Ajay Patri is a writer and lawyer from Bangalore, India. His work has appeared in Cleaver Magazine, Eunoia Review, Jellyfish Review, Literary Orphans, Molotov Cocktail, MoonPark Review, among other places.

Artwork by: Edward Lee