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Arranged Marriage



Sickly-sweet jasmine coils in her
serpentine braid,
bathed in rose water and mystic oils,
swathed in scarlet silk and burnished in gold.

Mirrored orbs of eyes lined with kohl
to ward off the evil eye,
startled bindi marks her forehead,
center of her being, as one with the universe.
Rich stains seep through ivory skin,
of crushed henna, as an unending maze.

Sunburst marigolds squat on dewed grass
hearing hushed whispers upon mumbled mantras.
Stiff old aunts stiff in starched saris,
crusty vermilion in their hair as
flaking proof of marriages that last.
Watching young girls dance to flute melodies,
plotting upon future brides for sons.

Downcast timid bridal eyes harboring
resentment within
an ebbing heart.
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Submitted on May 01, 2011

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