Henna

by Rajiv Mohabir

Why throw your bangles
in the river at all? Melt the gold
into a charm to keep you safe from night.
Henna is darkest before dawn
as mud that clings to the palm.
This is not a story of watermarks
or river lines. Your gold nose ring
has fallen amongst the reeds,
surely bringing shame to your family
should your in-laws tell your father.
What use is remorse when the leaf
will stain you in red anyway? Today
everything you touch turns to beauty;
tie your sari to your love’s fabric.

 

Rajiv Mohabir‘s first full-length collection of poems The Taxidermist’s Cut, winner of the 2014 Intro Prize in Poetry, is forthcoming from Four Way Books. A VONA, Kundiman, and American Institute of Indian Studies language fellow, some of his poetry and translations appear in journals such as The Prairie Schooner, Crab Orchard Review, Drunken Boat, Anti-, Great River Review, PANK, and Aufgabe. Having completed his MFA in poetry and translation from Queens College, CUNY, he is currently pursuing a PhD from the University of Hawai`i, at Manoa.

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