wears silk sarees
woven with soft threads from India
stained with rich indigo dye;
tiny peacocks perch in the folds
and flecks of gold adorn them like jewels
sparkling with every movement.
a red bindi sits between her brows – she’s a queen.
but in Tesco
she’s an obscurity in the spice aisle.
has silver hair
plaited in intricate patterns
with garlands of yellow marigolds
tucked into the strands
accompanied with a sprinkling
of sweet-smelling jasmine flowers:
the marriage of the sun and moon –
but in Sainsbury’s
she’s an oddity amongst the frozen chapattis.
speaks in hindi
the language of saffron mangoes,
and fragrant blushing lotuses;
it flows like the ganga with
praises like honeyed rose petals
and even the stinging cusses like a biting karela
sound like a nightingale song.
but her broken English
reduces her to suspicious looks
at the pickle shelf.