Excerpt


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Sample poem: "The India Chest"

Mama always sat us down before her
when she opened the India chest,
showed us embroidered bagh,
phulkari cloths, chadars, saris,
family letters and masala spices,
talked a bit about everything.
We sat in awe of what she said,
of what she showed us:
the beauty of jali embroidery
colours she dyed, indigo, amber, gulabi,
and the alchemy
of hundreds of bits of mirrors covering cloth,
reflecting us.
She told us about our waddi-bebbe
our bhua and taia in our lineage,
of how we carried out our sekeria,
our relationships, arranged marriages
(there are four sets of kinsmen you can't marry)
and how we lease our lands. We can go anywhere
in this world, our roots are always with us.
She put them back into her peti,
taking care we learned to fold
letters, tapestries and cloths along
old lines, pressed,
locked in.