It’s a strange world when
Half of its population cannot claim
Ownership of their bodies.
Stranger still, when the other half
Claims this as their right.
You have already pegged me, fit me in neat boxes
By the clothes I wear. Jeans, salwar or shorts:
They bear a silent testimony to my virtue, my marketability.
When my breasts, my curves, my blood
Are taboos, never meant to be spoken about:
Only for secret gropings and your possession,
Learning to love my own body
Feels like a transgression.
It is not right for me to feel beautiful,
You’ll find flaws plenty to undermine
The process of my unlearning.
I know my body is marked,
There are scars only I can see
Which I cover with demure smiles.
My body is marked
By your gaze, your colonizing thoughts,
Your relentless hands.
I’m left with what you’ve discarded.
It isn’t right for me to learn to love my body
It is a miracle that only I can perform.
That way, I’m nearer to God
Than you ever can be.