Desi Donations

- A Pantoum -

Secondhand hopes, re-incarnated hours

Shunned dreams are folded, in plastic bags thrust.

Layers of myself stacked—rainbow towers

Better reclaimed than gather desi dust.

 

Shunned dreams are folded, in plastic bags thrust

Deep down. Rose sari suffocates slowly

(Better reclaimed than gather desi dust),

Impulse to claim once more my heart’s Holi.

 

Deep down, rose sari suffocates slowly,

Well-worn Bengal-leather khussas burden.

Impulse to claim once more my heart’s Holi

Recover this sheer rose chiffon orphan.

 

Well-worn Bengal-leather khussasburden,

Breathe the sole . . . Bold warm scent, stirring power.

Recover this sheer rose chiffon—orphan

My will. Draped . . . I am the lotus flower. 

 

Breathe the sole, bold warm scent, stirring power

Spellbinding; I am the swirling dervish

My will draped. I am the lotus flower,

Trinket of the Ganges—a prayer, a wish.

 

Spellbinding, I am the swirling dervish

Spinning by pillars, arches, Raj-red dome;

Trinket of the Ganges . . . A prayer? A wish?

Then I wish, and I wish, wish I were home,

 

Spinning by pillars—arches. Raj-red dome

Packed with sorrows, gratitude, lost pieties;

As I wish and I wish, wish I were home.

Spirits shun my loneliness, seek deities. 

 

Packed with sorrows, gratitude, lost pieties,

Crammed carrier bags; translucent casks all.

Spirits shun my loneliness—seek deities.

Stranded, small now, my willful soul did fall.

Crammed carrier bags, translucent casks all.

Unwind the sari . . . it shrinks to the floor

Stranded, small now. My wilful soul did fall

Once I sought unknown masks, lost craving more. 

 

Unwind the sari . . . it shrinks to the floor.

I believed in Karma, re-incarnation

Once. I sought unknown masks—lost craving more,

Strange will, stranger hopes. New dreams had begun. 

I believed in Karma, re-incarnation.

Kindred hues, burdened piles—bulge in plastic

Strange will. Stranger hopes, new dreams had begun.

Stored memories—aired offerings, homesick;

Kindred hues, burdened piles, bulge in plastic.

Scarred bundles carry testaments of old

Stored memories; aired offerings, homesick

Crossing boundaries, bearing tales untold.

Scarred bundles carry testaments of old

Layers of myself stacked—rainbow towers.

Crossing boundaries, bearing tales untold,

Secondhand hopes—re-incarnated hours.

* * * * *

 

Desi: A person of Indian, Pakistani or Bangladeshi birth or descent who lives abroad.

Holi: Hindu Spring festival in honour of Krishna.

Khussas: Very old, traditional form of footwear in Pakistan/India, that came about during the Mughal Empire.

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