On Women Becoming Revolutions

by

Smita Singh

there's this old tradition in my house

where, when we sit down for dinner, the

noise of the grief-stricken creaking chairs

overpowers the sound of our heartbeats

maa cooks curd rice and french beans for dinner

with her hands engraved with baba's violent love

it's her anniversary and she's wearing her

favourite golden-yellow kanjivaram saree

she serves me apple custard with a melancholic

smile dying to yell till her lungs give out

"i am hurting- i am hurting- i am hurting;

please save me, my child" and a cavity begins to

form in my molars; i hear a bone inside me break;

my shoulder blades mourn my futile existence

baba stays late at night watching bbc news

and on most nights, drinking cheap alcohol and

smoking in other woman's silhouettes at bars

when i tell maa that he is not in love with her,

she frowns as if it is a god-given lineage—broken marriage

imprinted on her scalp like desperate teen tattoos

she sends me to sleep while decorating her

dead dreams on nani's unfinished woollen shawl

didi is an audience who has been visiting empty

stadiums for years now; hoping for a less painful

defeat; helping maa wipe out her salty tears before

they mix up with the dough and i, a rebel with a taped

mouth and rope-tied hands wanting to scream

into the monotonous sky and make stars go to war for

my dying mother; i want to untangle every

constellation and send them on a mission to shut patriarchy, make it bleed till it sobs out humanity

and pukes chauvinism out of its trachea

so when an Indian woman goes into media

to let the world know how fucking doomed she is

and people shame her for projecting her voice

for wanting to not just be heard but listened to

i want to say—s c r e w y o u society for imposing loveless marriage down naive women's throats; romanticising guillotine like a fancy French art that needs to be

gulped down in order to adapt to modern culture

when we say we have been hurting, what we need is your hand reaching out to us for uplifting us

we need you to intertwine your heartstrings with ours

until empowerment becomes a new language

and a female infant learns it like the back

of her tiny chunky hands while plaiting

her Barbie's hair with fresh blood

reeking of subsumed toxic masculinity

we can stand and trip-walk ourselves

just don't tear the bandaids from our scraped knees

our wounds are our recovery stripes—our identity

don't shush us and tell us that womanhood

is a generational curse

that womanhood disgusts you

because we know you are terrified of us—

that we might nail our bindis on the parched walls

leave our bloody footprints on costly maple floors

carve revolutions in slum streets with our burnt hands

strangle prejudices with our kanjivaram sarees

undrape them to make your deathbed look aesthetic

and watch you bleed in crimson red

with Maa Kali's laughter

we know that the only reason you buy a ticket for our dying exhibition is because you don't want us to die

you want us to suffer and womb your ugly stereotypes and rotten misogyny

we know that when you call us weak,

what you mean is that

our ribcage houses your strength

and you're afraid

of your dead life

in us

One can define Smita Singh as a 19 sunflower-old poet who finds godliness in everything humane. She consumes what drives her soul, and poetry is the 'thing of beauty' that turns her blues into yellows. On days Smita is not writing poems, she might be living it.

Smita Singh
Smita Singh
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