Praniti Gulyani

A Constellation of Bruises

today, my mother teaches me –

to arrange my bruises along the landmass

of my limbs, and to let them twinkle like stars

that tenderly kiss, the flame of autumn

she teaches me –

to put a bruise on my earlobe

and one between my fingers

just so that my bruises

look like jewels

she teaches me –

to shove the uglier bruises

under a bra-strap or a dress-hem

as I sort, select, shuffle between

which bruises to show

which bruises to hide

today, my mother teaches me –

to fold a wince

into a smile, and the art

of swallowing a sob, and when my throat

gets all salty, afterward

she says, the tanginess will soon abate

and finally, as she whispers farewell

into the folds of my wedding veil

the wavering threads of her whimper

entangled with the silk

she leaves me, a stargazer –

to this constellation

of bruises

Praniti Gulyani

Praniti Gulyani is a seventeen year old writer from India. An internationally awarded poet, she has been published in over twenty literary journals worldwide. She aspires to become a full time writer when she grows up.