Poetry / September 2015 (Issue 29)


by Khairani Barokka

Darama's wooden-framed photograph:
Great-grandmother could easily stay
Her incandescence with a bindi,
Notwithstanding choice of white mukena
For Subuh Dzuhur Ashar Maghrib Isya,
Palms raised up and again (for contiguous
Protection of children, eggs, rupiah,
The peace of knowing heaven is one's
Own for the resting, after the world of
Graves, Judgment Day, reliable reckoning).

On television, a blonde teenager is gyrating
To her own voice autotuned and repackaged,
The red dot just visible beneath her bangs.

Casting a gaze through the gallery, my eye
Catches only the carousel of round, crimson
Stickers, marks signifying exchange and value,
Substitute for a sense of fullness. Perpetual
Swirl with them, dizzy. Each piece they adhere
To is a woman of possible South Asian descent.
Picked apart in a vertical scan, by urbanites
Whose quiet air tastes different from that
Of washing and herbs, calming fears with
Two sons and dzikir beads, a steady gaze in
Monochrome, unflinching without a lover—

None of them my mother's grandmother.
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