Woman

I keep you in my womb, safe

I give birth to you

Man, I create you

 

My eyes unsleeping

My body unaching

My love unwavering

 

Yet monsters you become

Teaching me painful lessons

For no crime of mine

 

You touch my feet as Sita

And yet you ask me

To walk on hot coals

 

You ask  Saraswati for knowledge

You ask Laxmi for wealth

You ask Durga for strength

 

And yet you kill me

Before I am born

Are you really a man?

 

I am your daughter

I am your sister

I am your mother

 

You forget this

Outside your home

Even in your home

 

I bear quietly

The pain you give

Swallowing it like a bitter pill

 

I am strong

And yet you think

Of me as weak

 

My unspoken eyes

See what you have

Done to me

 

Wait for the Kali

In me to rise

Man, you will cower away

 

I will cause you pain

I will give birth

Only to my daughter

 

I will nurture her

Make her strong

And battle worthy

 

Trust me, man

You don’t want to see

Laxmibai with undocile eyes

 

So fight with me now

Not against me

Stand up and be counted

 

Because my war cry

Will be hard

For you to ignore

 

I will die

A thousand deaths

For my sisters

 

Until you have

Learnt your lessons

The hard way

 

I will be nirbhaya

I will be amaanat

I will be a braveheart

 

You will know

My many names

Until none exist

 

Then you will know me

As respect, dignity, equality

As woman not Kali or Lakshmi

 

———

 

Thoughts after the Delhi gangrape incident

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Filed under India, Poetry

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