Wednesday, January 22, 2020

The Beauty

I am two years ten months old,
beloved first-born: am told my face 
is open as windows, my smiles gems
of happiness, when baby sister is born.

I remember being taken to visit
Amma and the wrinkly new baby 
too in the hospital, in the morning, right 
before I have to go to Mrs. Pinto's "school."

And I remember the chill of nerves
the clunky thump of suspense, feeling 
so sneaking clever when--patting her tenderly, 
I tell my parents: "Baby sister--Chelli Paapa--

is so, so beautiful; I don't want to go to school."
My ploy creeps on, it has lived many lives
it has floated past memory's borders, 
the recall slowly fading.

When I retell it now, on this whole other continent, 
my own kids chortle, roll their eyes, call me 
"playa." My face is a window, is a mirror, 
my face is a door that lets the lie in.

 But my parents have told this story for decades,
in a haze of earnestness, claimed 'blessings
--love or beauty or children, or the hazy
necessity of whatever comes next.  

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