From the previous day’s reception
to the tying of the three knots
in the presence of the fire God
every sound is a slow moving record.
Your sister holds the lamp
as if the electricity is going to pucker off.
There is the circumambulation thrice,
followed by the ritual of placing the bride’s feet
on a pounding stone; you
bend down with humility, lift my foot
just a little, slip toe rings with gentleness
even make me look up to see the star Arundhati
in broad daylight.
I still do not know
if one ought to be like Arundhati
or not be like Ahalya who was not virtuous enough.
On to games like picking up a conch
or a ring immersed in a clay pot of water
careful not to have a tug of war—
(the pot ought not to break.)
There is the visiting and revisiting, your house
and mine, thrice. On the same day
we climb the hillock to your family temple
before the auspicious chosen hour
praying for marital bliss.
Back to the secret room, the bed like a carpet of flowers,
sweetmeats and savouries on the nightstand.
Now I know food as aphrodisiac; condensed milk
with flavours of saffron and almonds.
Our elders knew how to set the scene
induce the bride and groom to get ready
for the moment of deflowering.
But not so for you and me.
Bosh and Nonsense. No, not a brand name.
I lit my cigarette and you opened the window
to let out the smoke, lest you choked.
© 2013 Sivakami Velliangiri. First published by RaedLeafPoetry-India 2013.
Sivakami Velliangiri’s works have appeared in The Asian Cha, The Little Magazine, Indian Literature, Indian Scholar, Youth Times, Danse Macabre and a few others journals. Her online Chapbook, “In My Midriff,” was published by the Lily