Ghazal with the wedding three nights away

— Kiran Bath

To immolation

trust that heirlooms time travel on wrists, loan us the era
of bangles that sang, as our mothers danced the bells off of gold

remember the earlobes stretched and split, the decades
your grand-aunt grasped and wept, heavy is the language of wounded gold

pierced and adorned in the fashion of dowry debts, they forged
holes in our bodies, marked their trade routes for gold

should a daughter ever bloom from this womb, mere rabba,
what lore will she inherit on the terms of gold?

enter the red-veiled brides in my dreams, they tend
their necks, instruct me to collect my gold

limbs, find cover before the charade begins—
a rain of wedding garlands fall as nooses of gold

jasmines are never wasted, somewhere a girl blazes,
a fit prophecy if she is not worth her throat in gold

O flames, will you kiss before you sear? O Kabir, will you let us hear
as we burn, cry couplets with a tongue that turns us to gold

soft bellied, air spent, I dare saints to ascend the afterlife scales,
do they hope to balance or exceed the gold?

Kiran, return, as Tropic of Capricorn, join the brides
as a hemisphere of sunlight, let this be all we ever know of gold

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