Vishu: Our New Year

Vishu¹: Our New Year

I hawked for
yellow flowers on the streets,
felt their crisp, moist petals, 
bought a bunch when the market
erupted                               with bargains.

My ears tingled with
a yellownessinsisting
on toting a culture;
I lit flickering flames of
the brass lamp which shone
with the twang of tamarind,     and vinegar;

I blindfolded my children,
walked them through
the dark alleys of a sore 
sleepy morning, to display
the opulence                           of a New Year.

The lunisolar days
walked close to me
tip-toeing with the shadows
I hid within my body vase
flowers, music, a piece of you
I watched them                            slowly wither.

On my godless dining table

gourds burst, mangoes 
stared tardy, raw cashew 
fruits turned back their
spotted cheeky rear;
a few coins gleamed,
my mother’s antique gold
lost its lustre,                        became darker.

The yellow flowers were

soft and dry by now, I peered 
into the Aranmula mirror²
crowfeet vined up my skin, 
wrinkles erupted from
primordial cells; somewhere far away
they captured a black hole, 
that looked like a wilting 
flower                               on the metal mirror.


¹Vishu is a festival celebrated as the New Year  in one of the Indian states,  Kerala.
²Aranmula mirror  is a handmade metal-alloy mirror, made in Aranmula, a small town in Kerala, India.

Babitha Marina Justin is from Kerala, South India and a 2018 Pushcart Prize nominee. Her poems have appeared in Eclectica, Esthetic Apostle, Fulcrum, The Scriblerus, Chaleur Magazine, Into the Void, Trampset, Inlandia, The Paragon Press, Adolphus Press, The Punch Magazine, Rise Up Review, Constellations, Cathexis NW Press, Silver Needle Press, About Place Journal, The Write Launch, Ogazine, The Four Quarters Magazine, Taj Mahal Review, Kritya, and Journal of Post-Colonial Literature. Her first collection of poetry, “Of Fireflies, Guns and the Hills,” was published by the Writers Workshop in 2015. She is also waiting to debut as a novelist with Maria’s Swamp: The Bigness of Small Lies.

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