Rose day 1995*

By Anu Mahadev

Why do we celebrate the rose –
Cut, shorn of thorns and placed in the hands
Of the most beautiful

Why do a select few get to define beauty

Who cries for the lost pulchritude
Of petals, rapidly losing their heady scent
Except for the ones whose hands are bereft

Of sweetbriar velvet –

The ones who constantly play bridesmaid
To the bride
Extras to the main star

And why indeed should we cry

Is it because
some discerning eyes find no fine symmetry
In our not-so-lissome forms or wheat-colored skin

Which song or painting can claim
to be complete without the background,
fading into obscurity, even as Rapunzel

gets her prince, while we onlookers gape
at her good fortune

Wondering when we no longer get to act as understudy
But be the heroine of our own tale

*A day celebrated in colleges in India where boys give the most popular/beautiful girl a rose

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