Babitha Marina Justin

Mummy’s Sarees

Though she pays for them,
I own my mother’s sarees.

Draped in them, I am
six yards of woman.

I tailor the blouses
to my full-bodied taste.
A click of heels,
a soft swish,
a slow sidelong parade
in front of the mirror.

Mummy’s sarees
cling to me like a carnival.
Propped by my own earrings
and rainbow baubles,
I enter her world
of brittle crystal

I covet her kingdom
of cottons and chiffons
even as I fear the mixing
and matching, the accessorising,
the painstaking piecing together
of that shimmering puzzle
that is saree-wearing.

With my mummy’s sarees
I trip on my tread,
every drape covers
inches of midriff
with pins of false modesty.

And yet, as I tiptoe,
reeling on stilettos, I stake
every daughter’s sartorial claim
and stealthily pick up my pallu and
the tasseled threads of DNA
to twirl them like lost galaxies
on my fingers.

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