National Poetry Writing Month, Day-4: Vermilion

Vermilion
1.Sing me a song tonight, mother.
Your prodigal daughter is home again,
Battered and bruised,
Your daughter has washed up on your shores.
I know you’ve been wondering why the ocean looks vermilion like the mark of my father on your forehead.
I know often you stare hauntingly at the waves, whispering lullabies you sang to me as a child,
Words once coated with my Father’s laughter now emit the same old smell of cheap cigarettes and broken dreams.
But tonight, you can put my head in your lap and sing to me songs about my father and his hands,
Tell me about my grandmother and her smiles, tell me about the women of my blood, sing about my father and his words.
2. How does it feel, mother?
Do your hollow, old eyes remember the shade of your youth on my face?
I know, I told you I’d never be back to listen to your songs again,
But mother, I’m broken
Like the silver cold mirrors you once kept in my room,
I told you I hate my reflection,
So you stayed up all night breaking mirrors in the house to remind me beauty shines from within.
I’m sorry mother, I didn’t bandage your broken skin, I was to busy finding my reflection on broken mirrors,
Finding traces of our past.
3. Keep a bowl of sweetened rice and milk,
Like you did on every birthday of mine,
It is my birth, mother.
Tonight I won’t let you sit alone, while I drown my demons in cheap liquor.
The food will be sweet like your songs.
4. When you tuck me in mother could you sing me the song? The song about the moon and the sun,
But change the ending tonight, tell me it ends well, Maa, tell me, it ends in love.
Let me live in my fantasy and delusions, Maa like the men of my kin.
Let me breathe in them, immerse my skin so thickly coated with ignorance, let reality never cut my bloody skin.
5. Sing me a song, mother.
It’s time for the prodigal daughter to leave again,
But before I leave, promise me you’ll commit the cardinal sin, close your and ears when the waves wash over me,
Turn around when you hear my screams,
And I promise I’ll free you,
I’ll turn the vermilion tides blue again
-Written by Rhea Lahiri

Janice Coutinho

Good at bad jokes. A socially awkward goofball, with wild hair often found putting herself in embarrassing situations.

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