Deadline for submissions is Tuesday, February 22, 2022.
I was three years old in this photograph
My mother stood behind me
Pressing my left shoulder with her thumb.
The air was thick with saffron light
And the smell of the coconut oil
She used in her hair.
Our feet scrub the burnt-red bristles
Of the tufted rug clinging to our shadows.
My right hand lays – flat, palm-down,
Brushing the tulsi-stained wood table
That stands at half my height.
My left grasps a stuffed puppy;
Its draping ears graze my leg.
My dress is bruised-green
Barely scraping my knees
Its texture so similar to
The carpet compressed below us.
My curls – long-gone ringlets – are damp;
They stick, cold and dark
To my mother’s white-ruffled shirt.
Together we stand,
Crushed in time,
A memory of figures trapped
In coconut oil and saffron.