A Purple Poem by Praniti Gulyani

A Purple Poem

there is a purple poem
on my mother’s neck
that my father writes for her
every full moon night
instead, most poets write on paper
but my father writes on mother’s skin
she smiles, she says she doesn’t mind
says, the purple poem is truly
a thing of pride and beauty
yet, she keeps it covered, carefully
with the ends of her dupatta, shielding it
says, she’s scared of it being looked at
by the evil eye

there is a purple poem
on my mother’s hand
that father writes for her
every full-moon night
instead, most poems have words
but its a shape poem, my mother insists
sits me down before the computer
makes me look at some
but does not ask me to write one
I wonder why

there is a purple poem
on my mother’s forehead
that my father writes for her
every full-moon night
instead, it has not been written tenderly
upon the softness of paper
with a gliding quill
it has been pummeled, pushed—
slapped, and smashed
probably the way, mom punches walnuts
into the dough of our winter cake
so that the walnut stays
I think father also wishes
for this purple poem
to permanently stay

there is a purple poem
on my mother’s feet
that my father writes for her
every full-moon night
and tonight, as I reach out,
my fingers measuring the dark
ensuring my steps are silent
I tread with caution
so as to not arise her
I touch this purple poem
which she says, is a treasure—
an honor, a privilege, a boon
and even at times, a wife’s pride
her sleep-crusted eyes flicker open
she winces.

by Praniti Gulyani

Editor’s Note: The repetition of the imagery in this poem gives it an almost sing-song cadence while also emphasizing the emotional difficultly of the narrative.

2 thoughts on “A Purple Poem by Praniti Gulyani

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