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This poem is taken from PN Review 81, Volume 18 Number 1, September - October 1991.

Four Poems Sujata Bhatt


It was more animal-purple
      than plant-purple,
a long sheath of a bud
that might blossom into an octopus
instead of a lotus, the child thought
as she asked her grandmother to buy it.

The lotus was for Krishna,
a luxury for the grandmother.
The girl was tired of the daily offering
of tulsi and mogra from their garden.
For once she wanted something magnificent.

That evening the grandmother showed the child
how to wrap the bud in a wet cloth
to keep it fresh through the hot night
and to prevent it

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