Variety Pack: Issue III

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I gifted myself a midnight-blue gold poshak in memory of a clear winter night I glimpsed from a courtyard in Meherangarh fort. Did the city's rulers once believe they were ruling the heavens too, the stars their loyal subjects? That night, I believed I could see and count every star in the sky: each one a friend, a promise, and a gift. I was young then, I am not so young now: the poshak no longer fits me and lives in a cloth envelope, a breaking, fading letter. But I cannot let go of it: it does not let go of me. The stars are still there but the sky is now full of smoke and I no longer know how to count anymore. moon-white/dusty rose A moon-white wall in a rose-pink Jain temple grows broken glass teeth, threatening violence to the sky. Each tooth is a different color: tea brown, cobalt, cloud, pink. A wood-faced man suddenly tells me to leave the temple because I am a woman wearing inauspicious black. The man wears black himself but when I point it out to him, he says it is actually a very, very dark gray. A very, very dark gray snake lives in the temple's stone veins, emerging every night to sip from a milky full moon of a marble bowl. They say it is good luck to spot the snake but I have yet to see it once in all these years. I secretly believe it does not exist; I secretly wait for it to prove me wrong.