She let her fingers slide over the rich brocade,
the saree that had belonged to her mother;
for ten years it had sat in her cupboard, untouched,
bitter memories tarnished in its glimmering folds,
she stared at the border of mythical birds, woven in
delicate green and gold, their eyes an all-knowing blue;
she would wear it tonight to her daughter’s wedding,
it was time.
She threw one end over her left shoulder,
years ago, on a hand-worked loom, calloused fingers
had breathed life into six silken yards,
the silent birds now stared at her with her mother’s eyes,
with that perfect reproach, perhaps she could
gather the moments lost in her wrinkles,
iron them out so they would glow like the peacocks
in the hotel’s lowlight; outside, in the hallway,
she could heard her daughter laughing.
Divine birds that could separate water from milk,
the old weaver hadn’t given them wings to fly,
she held the soft pleats for a moment
against her thickening waistline,
in the mirror, thirty six birds quickly looked away.