Rafiq Kathwari
My Parents’ Nuptials

As arranged, they meet the first time.
He, a law student; she a child-bride.

She wears red. Showing her rancor?
Head bowed, veiled little stars

In gold thread, she waits on the bed,
Like an arrow drawn on a bow.

Henna-touched hands, a mirror poised
On lap: A girl staring back;

If he sits beside her,
She will see him glance at her image.

In the courtyard, children sing
Of petals falling from almond trees.

The singing would continue until
He displays a blood-stained sheet.

Footsteps on stairs, whispers,
Robes rustling, attar of roses.

His hand on her chin; her heart leaping.
He kisses her eyes closed.

The mirror slips from her fingers.
Bangles clash on her arms.