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Bride Of Partition by Vinita Agrawal

Art by Prachee Batra

Her coat hangs in the museum of partition

embroidered in silk threads of pink, orange and gold.

Cleaned of blood stains,

blemishes disbanded by the solvent of time.

Membrane by membrane

Tear by tear.

The wounded, wet moon

drowned in guttural downpour that August monsoon.

Slush hiccuping with acid burns of severings.

Damp, abandoned hearts scurrying night and day in the rain of no return.

Her father had bundled her into a train bogie

thrust the coat in her hands

heaved her into the first train leaving the village

as though to save her was to save himself.

Her escape, his own.

Earth holds voices -

the dry lipped whispers of fathers dying.

Water holds memories -

the liquid dreams swirling inside a heart no longer beating.

And daughters hold history in their steps -

measuring dissent in footfalls,

clutching ethers of wishes in fists

like acorn in a fleeing squirrel's hands.

Years later she became a bride

Wore the brocade coat she had brought as a refugee.

When the museum volunteers

approached her for a souvenir of partition,

she parted with it, dry eyed.

A wound on display.

Lacerations of a journey

scabbed by the loss of roots.

Messages of empathy

scribbled on paper leaves

fluttered on the wire-mesh tree

installed in the Hall Of Hope.

Ached for silence.

A good silence.

Peace the only tribute,

to stories of storm.

Memory the only yardstick

to gauge how deep hurt can go.


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