Credits

Header photograph: "Business" by Kevin Dooley, used with kind permission.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Saluvas

Saluvas

Today the girls were all wearing their saluvas –
all flying colours and light drapes.
I heard them talk about a wedding
or some fancy celebration.
I had no clues and I still don't know what it meant.
Yet, these dresses
all women wear
there in Mayotte
are like flowers covering bruises and dark pains.
I admired Doulfahou's red suns,
surrounded by black spots running away not to be eaten.
Nassurati – though prettier – was wearing a plain pink
piece of plain cloth.
Yasmina's blue flowers or leaves
danced on the brownish dress she wore.
Faïza's was green with strange shapes
going orange, going purple.
I smiled broadly when I saw Hachimia come in.
She had something closer to a shopping net than a scarf on her head,
covered in bright orange
like a security guard's brace.
Raouanti was an Indian princess –
all salmon pink and eastern pride.
The most beautiful though was Sayra –
she walked like an African queen in her navy blue saluva
constellated with brown petals.

First published in The North Chicago Review, January 2013. Extract from Maore Lapwing Publishing, 2013

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