Sujata Bhatt

Poisson d’Avril

The fish is for the bear I'll surely meet. 
Meanwhile, Gretelchen has been enchanted, 
she has turned into a million different things. 
Gretel is a tree, she's a bird, she's a bee. 
'What sort of song is that?', you might ask. 
'It's not part of the story.' 
It's not a song, it's the undertow; 
the undertow you can't outwit. 
What else can I say? 
These flowers, for instance, typical Gretel. 
Lush deep pink, the perfect shade of lipstick 
for an April morning. You guessed it, 
I'm burdened with roses. 
I take them now to my grandmamma. 
Through this forest I go; who cares if my way is long. 
The fish is Gretel too. The bear needs to eat her
to set her free. Such drastic rules we live by.
I could use some mirage control.
And wouldn’t you know it,
Gretel peeks out of my eyes.
When she exploded into a million things,
her soul flew into my throat.
There’s a riddle I have to solve.
A little boy blue never goes out of fashion.
My clothes may be velvet, dark and dusky,
still, you can see my blue.
And the ribbons fastened right below my knees
shine a brighter blue: satiny, sunny, as clean as the sky.
There’s no mud on me.
You can paint my portrait on china,
on a large platter, and everyone will want to buy it.
A little boy blue never goes out of fashion.
But now I’m getting pinker every day.
Don’t you love my aura?
How it blossoms, my pale pink aura,
the colour of a faint blush, the exact colour on my face.
I’m sure Gretel has something to do with it.
I miss her tango lessons, her ballet toes.
She was a star in her tutu.
Her eyelashes ready as flowers being watered.
I watched her, always, in the mirror.
Gretelchen mein Schwesterchen!
The borders are dissolving. This can’t be France.
Don’t tell me I’m in California.
No? It’s a new country?
Let’s wait a while before we name it.
Oh how the scent of sequoias reassures me.
Gretelchen mein Schwesterchen!
I must be off to find that bear.