Someone is stealing our flowers.
They are of a rare kind, the double hibiscus.
Their petals are bunched together like ruffles
on that red dress of mine.
It covered her well too
almost obscuring the existence
of a female presence.
On the day I was anticipating
her blossoming she was gone.
And my dismay lasted briefly.
I shove my grief into wrapped boxes
That I gift myself every passing year.
But it did not matter to you.
You never blinked when the naked stem
of hers stared into your eyes
It was a visceral amputation
which left a longing for burden.
You never asked me if I was sad.
You never realized that this rare
flower kept me company
on days when the smoke
couldn’t fill the vacuum.
That she is the best offering
to that god on our street
whose unflinching stamina removes
all obstacles (?)
We found the thieves.
The uncle on the second floor
followed the couple diligently
all the way to their house.
It seems they were offering it to
the god on the street.
It seems stolen flowers are highly auspicious.
It seems like the gods know the power of loss.
But what about female gods?
Female gods have cravings too.
But what do they get?
Metal mixed with copper
to swirl on the toes arresting their feet.
Fresh jasmine on the hair hypnotizing them into submission.
Soft silk tightly draped from head to toe
to suffocate ideas to death.
An excess of red sprinkled, no! smothered
like a stamp of ownership.
Maybe the red will melt through
the dregs that have been filtered and collected
from my failures.
Maybe the red will unravel my stolen dreams
onto the dismembered organs.
Maybe the Goddess will marry
that the red petals have
to get crushed under
the hoax of love.
Maybe I will festoon her
with stolen hibiscus
for a lasting untethering.
But every night
someone steals them.
I need my flower, you know?
Aarthi Ashokkumar is a music teacher, a student pursuing post-graduation in music, with her feet rooted in poetry. She kind of transitioned into poetry from an early age, as the only way of expressing some of the emotions she couldn't handle on her own. She might be caught staring into a blank space from time to time or seen awkwardly smiling in the middle of a crowd.