My mother's moth-balled
Brocades, a whole lot of them,
Are lying systematically stacked up
In her ancient wooden cupboard
They smell of her, the smell
That belonged to a slice of her life.
This yellow one which she wore
Just once in her life had wrapped
A coy twenty-year-old bride
Tentatively setting her dainty foot
Into the hesitant bridal home.
Somewhere in the backwoods
Several industrious silkworms
Had spun miles of salivary yarn
In the foliage of the mulberry tree
To make this gorgeous five-yard saree.
The rustle of the silk drowned
The wails of the boiling cocoons
These worms died that beauty would live
In their plaintive cries lay new bridal hopes.
My mother, the coy bride of yesteryears,
Is now as non-existent as the worms
That had ceased to exist spinning
The smooth silk for her bridal finery.
Her bridal fragrance lives on among
The delicate folds of these gossamer silks
That the worms had died weaving
Death is so fragrant and so memorable.