A New Year

Day#8 of IntrotoPoetry

Prompt: Pleasure

Device: Anaphora

 

On a wintry morning, she wakes

Regretfully leaving behind layers of heavy quilts

And the welcoming, warm limbs of her sleeping roommates.

 

On a wintry morning, she turns the tap

The water is merciless in its icy gush

Her fingers turn numb as she gazes at the fog outside.

 

On a wintry morning, she changes

Goosebumps immediately cover her

An inadequate blanket against trembling skin.

 

On a wintry morning, she sips

The coffee shares its heat with her.

Dressed now, she’s ready to leave.

 

On a wintry morning, she lingers

The most peaceful of smiles tracing her face

This year, this January, her happiness surprises her.

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The Mouthless Woman

The drip of a leaky tap

Has turned into a gush of blood.

I am terrified of time:

Its malevolent, fickle movements.

The night no longer embraces me

In its absolute blackness:

I can hear all of its voices now.

I fear if I turn just an inch,

They will tear my skin off.

.

I find myself being afraid

Of so many, many things.

I am so full of secrets.

History’s pull is stringer now

I dare not imagine a future

Rid of yesterday’s scratches and screams.

.

I fear I will turn

Into the mouthless woman

Decked in her father’s sweat

And her mother’s tired expectations.

The mouthless woman is dangerous:

She lets him have her life.

More importantly, when she finds a voice

It will only say, “Keep your eyes down, dear”,

“Do not provoke them, daughter”,

Or worst, “you’ll grow up to be just like me”.

In Memory of an Assault

Disclaimer: Not autobiographical

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I wanted to scream when you were done with me

To rage and kick and pull out your hair and bite you

In my dreams I slap your face and watch it dissolve.

When I sleep I see a different world,

One where you live in a muddy pit

Dug from all the hot anger I felt.

I am vindicated in my imagination.

.

In real life, I cannot scream,

Not when I see you. Your photos.

Emblems of your successful life.

Your clueless, perfect, nuclear family.

I want to cut you with my words

I want to laugh as you repent

What you’ve done, hidden for so long.

.

Instead, I am forced to shake your hand

And be nice to your family

And answer your stupid questions

About my life.

.

I watch your happy life.

Why is it that I am the one who hasn’t moved on?

Will I go to sleep everyday, exhausted from the ordeal of the everyday,

And wake up in the middle of the night

To feel your hands up my thighs?

.

Why am I the one tired?

Why am I the one broken?

Why are my sentences incoherent and mundane?

Why is this a terrible poem?

Dear Brother

BlogHer prompt for Tuesday, November 11: If you could permanently get rid of one worry, what would it be?

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Dear Brother,

They told me when before I left home

Cover your legs, keep your eyes down

Don’t get dark in the sun and

Get back before the sun sets.

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They say they worry for me brother.

Why do they not worry so for you?

Is life easier for you than for me

Advice and warning echoing in my head

Even after its been said, whirling inside

With images of wide eyes and shaking heads

At everything I do.

.

Why do they worry so, brother?

Do you know what it’s like,

The weight of those worries?

Do you carry them with you,

All those people who worry,

When you step out, smile or do?

Because they are with me, even when I sleep.

.

Dear brother, sometimes I want to be you

But then I remember what they worry for

They worry about what someone like you

Could do to someone like me.

.

And then, I don’t want to be you

Not the monster who makes them worry

Not that gender that automatically labels you

As dangerous, making them worry about me.

How to be a Great Father

BlogHer prompt for Monday, November 10: What knowledge do you have that others don’t? Write a “how to” post about anything you’ve got skills for, small or large.

Dedicated to my father. “Appa”, whose birthday is tomorrow.

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Turn off the internet and confiscate the laptops

Switch the lights off and tuck your girls in

And in the darkness, smile at the invisible sulks

Your daughters make while half-asleep.

.

Wake them up in the morning

Be useful by panicking about time

And asking repeatedly, “Have you forgotten..?”

Ignore their rolling eyes, and look around for what they’ve missed.

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Miss them while they’re gone

All those hours in school

Which turn to months in college

Kiss them when they’re back

They secretly like it, though they say stop,

Their eyes will shine with home.

.

Complain about not having a boy around

Buy a football in vain to get them interested

Make them stay awake at night for World Cups,

But sit through their makeover-daddy sessions

And smile wickedly for a selfie with them.

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Fight with them, make them run to mama

Be the baby, let them pet and pamper you

Pretend to sleep and wake up with a roar,

Enjoy their frustrated, “appa, stop!”

As much as their “miss you appa” over the phone.

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Love them with all of your heart

And watch them break it over and over

Knowing without a doubt that

They’ll always come back,

Cos they’re appa’s girls.

The Photograph from Another Life

I stumble upon a photograph of you and me

You’re younger than I can recollect, and I am barely three

Your arms are around my brother, and around me

How deftly you hold us both, and how sweetly my brother smiles!

….

But why does my face freeze like I’ve been caught by surprise,

As if I was submerged in ice cold water?

Why do my eyes, which shone with such a childish happiness

Suddenly seem dull and sucked of reasons to smile?

Had it already started by then?

I don’t remember, I can’t remember

When, where, why, what I felt, why you did it

All I can see are your hands finding their way

Beneath, under, down, below

All I have are frustrating fragments of doors closing

And recurrent dreams of hands roving.

Now you see me, you smile.

I wonder, do my eyes still lose its glow

And my smile choke short

When I reply to your questions,

When I play the part of the perfect girl child?

I wonder why your hands couldn’t stop moving

Why they found rest

Only in places no one else visited.

I don’t know how I’ll feel the next time I see you

Now that I have realized

What happened behind those doors

When my mind was too young to form into memory

All that you did to me.

Will I be angry? Will I cry?

Or will I just feel tired,

So tired that all I want to do

Is curl up and sleep,

Like I did after those long afternoons

When I was three?

Elevator Ride

Parents have a tendency to repeat themselves, especially when they talk about their children. Her parents were no exception. When talking about her childhood, there was this one story that they always laughed at: it was about how as a baby, she would cry from the moment she got into an elevator till the moment the ride ended. She used to smile when her parents recounted this, though she could never figure out what was funny.

She still hated elevators. They were tiny, claustrophobic and stifling. She hated the wait between floors, as if the elevator was suspended in time, while the rest of the world went on as usual. She felt empty: the kind of terrifying emptiness you feel when you know that something dreadful is going to happen, but it hasn’t happened yet; and you’re waiting, tired of the sickening anticipation and yet, wishing that it would never end. When people talked about souls, she pictured an elevator as its antonym: empty and enclosed. She hated elevators because they made her feel empty, even when she smiled to shake off the feeling; even when she stepped out of it.

She still took the elevator, though. In one of the magazines her mother read, she found an article which cautioned that riding an elevator was always safer for women than climbing the stairs. So she stuck to it, even though her heart quaked until she stepped out.

The day her father died, she felt like she was stuck in an elevator. She knew she was supposed to scream, to cry, to tear her hair out; but she felt suspended in time, her mind weighing her down with the anticipation of tears that would come, of emotions that she would feel. She was stuck in an elevator: empty, enclosed. She couldn’t get out. She couldn’t feel. She couldn’t cry. All she could do was wait.