ONE POEM – Debatri Das

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Photo by Gayatri Malhotra on Unsplash

Debatri Das is a student studying English Literature in Kolkata, India. Her work has previously appeared in LangLit, Muse India and Esthesia Magazine. Her interests include feminism, gender constructions and how that operates within her immediate surrounding. 

Things they said to young girls

i.…….Don’t say that you don’t like this
………Or you cannot love that, what if
………You end up marrying
………Your hatred, ma replies
………When I say, I don’t like my feet
………All bare on the mud, I do not think
………I can ever visit the village you grew up in.
………You don’t have a choice, she continues
………Your body
………Doesn’t have a choice

ii.……Your body
………Doesn’t have a choice, so we are pushing
………You into the water, its green
………You will love it,
………You wont have a choice when you grow,
………What if your mother-in-law throws
………You into one
………What excuse will you make
………When you don’t get wet
………So they pushed me in
………and I didn’t know how to swim

iii.….Always
………Hide your arms.
………Hide your stomach.
………Hide.
………Hide.
………Tie your hair.
………Tie your hair.
………Sing. Sing. Sing.
………The world is not for you
………Or your skimpy knees

iv.…..Don’t look, don’t love
……….You don’t know what the night holds,
……….Don’t think, stop
……….You are so wrong
……….You think getting good grades will
……….Make the city settle in your chest
……….But you are the girl who
……….Someday will be able to drink the spatula without fear
……….Someday you will find your Palash blooming
……….In a red and white saree
……….Your sindoor, your bangles will guide you to your truth
……….Your husband will find you full
……….So keep faith, do you want your son to laugh at you ?

v.…….In future, if the roof above you is leaking,
……….The stones beside your kitchen is breaking
……….Don’t call us.
……….Dear you need to know, life is not the love
……….Or the rain
……….You ran from, the day a man from the
……….Streets saw you naked
……….Beneath your navy blue
……….School dress
……….Honey,
……….Life for you is that home
……….Where no one ever is safe

 

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