August 26, 2021

Throwback Thursday: A Lament for Sisters, By Priya Sridhar


Editor's Note: Deep and eternal is the bond between sisters, and author Priya Sridhar's meditation on the classic fairy tale, "Diamonds and Toads," is the lyrical poem EC is featuring in today's Throwback Thursday post. Enjoy!

Cruel words are sharper
Than a toad's warm belly
Rubbing against a lady's ankle,
Docile and waiting for
A hand to smack them
Into the driest soil
Meters from hospitable ponds.

Yet diamonds fall with kindness
And roses with curling thorns.
So we stand here, afraid to speak
For fear of piercing the barren cottage
With the fairy's rewards
For our words, and our water.

I would prefer a frog
To escape from my lips
Rather than the sharp diamonds
That cut through my throat
And thorns that prick,
Drawing endless blood.

What use is a marriage
Or a handful of jewels
When I lack the weight of your hand
Railing against mine? 
I'd prefer to see your smile
And solemn morning greeting

Such cruel names and taunts
Merit hard rubies and pearls 
Yet I welcome each one
Shattering the heart
Like a diamond knife
Stabbing a white periwinkle bouquet

A word can pierce, or protect
While toad can hop
And jewels only clatter.
Onto hostile grounds 
Give me all your sharpness
So that I know you are my sister

You are lovely and you love
Despite what you say
That makes my tears pool
Onto uncaring stones
And snarled green thorns
Adorning burgundy roses.
Priya Sridhar has been writing fantasy and science fiction for fifteen years, and counting. Capstone published the Powered series, and Alban Lake published her works, Carousel and Neo-Mecha Mayhem. Priya lives in Miami, Florida with her family.

Cover Graphic: Amanda Bergloff @AmandaBergloff


Unknown said...

This is really beautiful and I love so much the idea of rejecting the old type of setting sisters against each other. It's just brilliant and I'll think about it all day.

Unknown said...

Such beautiful language and imagery, Priya.