If you were born in August, wear a peridot ring

by Shadab Zeest Hashmi

Dear Peridot Child,

Cupped by mountains, you are thirty-two-something degrees North in latitude. You are of raw seasons, placed as a story within a story, a fledgeling in the rorschach nest of the imagination, the wordy part of the planet wound around your ears. You are your own battlefield, fired up to fifty degrees Celsius then doused by torrents of Monsoon rains. You are chrysalis and oak, simmer and lull. In 1947 you are coming to a world of wars.

Grains of dust in a new country are upturned mirrors. You are one, you are many: Thirty two million on the day of your birth.

You washed up alone, wishing for a desk with empty drawers, a green gem on your finger.

The Peridot is the gem of youthfulness

and wisdom

Khizer, the saint of lost travelers appears here:  by this roadside, in this market, on the balcony of this mosque. This means everywhere. He has an ancient white beard and youthful eyes. His robe is green. The city of your birth opens to thirteen gates, of which one is named after Khizer. Doves peck at prayer beads, broken and rolling across the threshold.

Peridot ranges from a springtime

 yellow green to a warm olive green.

There are ledgers under the yellow-green mustard fields. Names float to their owners and hang around their necks. There are tunnels that muralists paint, and underneath, a map of sacrifice.

The ancients believed that peridot can

inhibit enchantments,

At your birth the earth is a chessboard.

The peridot protects the wearer

 from evil spirits

We are  bricks on a sheer veil.  By nightfall, the mirrors dissolve into a phoneme large enough to hold the day’s garden, its smallest tendril and dot.

It glows in the dark.