My mother’s brocades

This yellow saree she wore
Just once in her life had wrapped
A coy twenty-year-old bride
Tentatively setting her dainty foot
Into the hesitant bridal home .

Somewhere in the backwoods
Several industrious silkworms
Had spun miles of salivary yarn
In the foliage of the mulberry tree
To make this gorgeous five-yard saree .

The rustle of the silk drowned
The wails of the boiling cocoons
These worms died that beauty would live
In their plaintive cries lay bridal hopes .

My mother, the coy bride of yesteryears,
Is now as non-existent as the worms
That had ceased to exist spinning
The smooth silk for her bridal finery .

Her bridal fragrance lives on among
The delicate folds of these gossamer silks
That the worms had died weaving
Death is so fragrant and so memorable.

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