My mother's thin salwar gives her away.
Her plait snakes across her back, and turns
to whispers at the ends.
Can we touch it? They ask in the icy playground.
She shyly places the dark coil in their hands.
After bathing, it is transformed, rope
released from its binding fibres and falls
into a heavy curtain onto her shoulders.
Steaming by the old radiator, she sits,
with her pan of dried pulses,
discarding tiny masquerading stones,
she leaves a trail of whispers on the floor.
[Published in Southbank Poetry Autumn 2010]