A Lotus In Its Moorings

I remember
sitting on the stone steps of the temple pond,
self-appointed guardian
of my grandpa’s white veshti.

He stands waist-deep in the water,
with his eyes closed, his mind empty
of everything
but a prayer.

He comes up the steps and
gently holds out
a lotus plucked from its moorings.

I bring it home
and place it
before a picture of God,
Who holds a ball of butter in His right hand,
With His left curled around a flute.

The flame of the brass lamp
gives His young cheeks a pink glow
like the pink of the lotus before Him.

I remember
my mother
bowing before Him,
with a soft rustle of her light pink sari.

I see then,
embroidered in gold thread,
set into the sari’s black silk border.

My mother looks at me from a photo.

She is in the light pink sari
with gold lotuses in its black silk border,
preserved, unfaded,
for my child to see.

But, I wonder:
where is the lotus my grandpa gave me?

but unfaded
from my memory
for my child to see.

MEERA PARASURAMAN is a poet, editor, translator, scholar, and mother. Her work appears in, or is forthcoming from, New Note Poetry and Copihue Poetry.