magenta designs upon my hands
swirl and weave up my wrists
the gold glitters heavy on my ears my neck
the bindi is properly placed
and i am ready to be dressed

i could not brace it
could not greet the heave upon me
of this fate-fulfilling ritual
without a piece of him with me
to shield me from the celebrating eyes

i wrap his scarf around my heart
around my ribs
against my belly
to help me face
this ceremonial union


43 years forward
and i cannot endure it
cannot bear to move through the doorway
for this final ritual without a piece of him with me
to fortify me, shield me
from the hands and the tears
of this fateful union come apart

his wedding scarf is wrapped around my heart
my ribs and belly
this is the only way i can brave
this disembarkment
this departure of moving on without him


they gently wrap my body in the purest white
i am shrouded in marigolds
and i am gently given
to the ganges river

Courtesy of Carmen Leon