Wild Court

An international poetry journal based in the English Department of King’s College London

‘Saree’: a poem by Sambhu R.

    Photo by soumya parthasarathy on Unsplash 




Mother gathers the folds
of her old chiffon saree
around her shoulders
like a little girl playing dress-up.

Confided to the short-term memory
of the wardrobe
with the rust-sprinkled knob,
the saree pops out at intervals
like a deeply embarrassing slip of the tongue.

She tiptoes to the mirror
with tributaries of cracks
spreading across its riverine surface
and watches her fraying reflection
ebb in the fury of wounded light.

She only has to hear
the pressure cooker’s wolf whistle
or the rice pot’s palaver
to moult her reverie
and hide the saree away
like the secret she thinks it to be,
for the silkworms of oblivion
to do the work of Penelope at night
and keep the suitors of despair away.