Nina Sudhakar "The Scent of Life and Death"
The pontianak, a female ghost of Southeast Asian mythology, derives from the spirits of women
who died while pregnant. She often hunts during a full moon, heralded in some accounts by the
smell of plumeria/frangipani followed by the horrible smell of a decaying body.
frangipani loosened like / confetti / on the pavement / remnant of a time / when a branch’s nakedness / provoked no fear of winter / I followed the petals to the end / then / chased the jasmine ghost / through the riverine bends / they said a nail / in my nape / would make me a good wife / shackle me to a docility / devoid of vengefulness / a man need not touch / a mortar & pestle / to know how to / grind a person down / stitch me from / the morsels / into a bouquet / of raucous surrenders / you fear death / only because you / have never smelled / raw earth / plant me in / the quiescence / till the barren plot / & see what grows