(CW: forced marriage)
Nadaswaram blaring in her ear.
Mridangam beat pounding in her chest.
Sanskrit verses cracking like thunder.
Petals flung like missiles.
And she is married.
Her new mother-in-law cackles, full of plans.
Her eyes dart sideways at her stranger-husband. He materialises in snapshots. Hands, hanging
limp. Lips, moist. Nose, fleshy. Eyes, drooping, focused elsewhere.
Sweat pools in her armpits. The heavy sari ties her down, crimson like the blood she will
A touch on her elbow – her mother, tentative, as if she no longer has a claim on her.
“Love will grow,” Ma says, sure as a death sentence.
Sumitra writes in Naarm/Melbourne. She has won the Writer’s Playground Short Story and WOW! Women on Writing Flash Competitions. She has words in Jaggery Lit Mag, National Flash Fiction Day UK, Every Day Fiction, and Cheap Pop. She works in mental health. Her twitterings: @pleomorphic2.