Being God

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.

 

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Blood

I could write

A hundred thousand words,

And you still wouldn’t understand

Why I say nothing.

.

Every word a woman writes

Is tinged in her blood.

She’s used to bleeding,

That is why she’s born.

.

To be crushed, so that the world makes sense to you.

To be silent. so that you can speak for me as well,

To be dead, so that my life is yours to live.

.

Enjoy my body

There is no blood left.

I’ve bled out, I’m sand dry

Savour me now

And tell me what you taste.

 

In Memory of an Assault

Disclaimer: Not autobiographical

.

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?

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?