in seventy-seven
the twilight spread like terror
fear blossomed like night flowers
in those sari days
when you told me
not to
wear a pottu
it’s not safe
they’ll mistake you for a tamil;
and i knew you loved me
but i could say balthiya unlike you
if authenticity was needed

inoculated by fear
of those who did not have the tongue
to say balthiya
a matter of the letter b or the letter v
that gave one away
a letter that stood between
safety and danger
a pottu
a letter
little things

schooled of the glory
of kissing feet of robed rogues
of false teeth
of pandered histories
in traditions’ lies
always an impostor
if only the others knew
what i saw
where false offerings were made
where flowers were wasted
for a trip
to a place unknown non existent

the southern daughter
who did not know

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