When it is hot Ma guzzles water like
they dumped her in Rub-al-Khali to die
without a drop. Her dark head tilted back,
black curls damp on her face, her turkey throat
gobbles the liquid down. She needed love
suckled like that to fit inside her family, her life,
to be a worthwhile wife, deserving of
my light-skinned father’s choice. Sepia now
their wedding photograph, Pa haltered with
his coolie gyal, his suit ill fitting, her slim gown
serene so it can hold its own still in our Fashion File
millennium. They look so frightened, so at risk.
I’m not sure which to find more dread, Apocalypse
or my young parents on their war-torn wedding day.