When I was naive, I took words out of books
Carved them on my hands and blinked 
( ink wandering between palm lines
notions settling in my vertebrae )
' All Indians are my brothers and sisters '
It said in those patchy hardcover books
that smelled of promise and goodness

As I started to grow, my limbs defying gravity,
my voice gathering like splinters,
Fingers tingling
As I started to grow, I also began to shed
My bosom somehow began to offend, by mere existence,
the existence of some fellow brothers
My voice split like cracks in white ceilings
where the spider crawled and chose to mock
My body morphed along parabolas and hyperbolas
And that I realize
was the most heinous crime of all

My brothers say
That my body is a temple
unless it is revealed to their eyes
Then they throw some logs around my waistline
and choose to bask in its warmth

My brothers say
that a woman should hide
behind doors of steel and stacks of stones
Yet then they come
wearing familiar faces
with grisly smiles and yellow eyes
To consume the length of me
Until I lie flat for the rest of my life

My brothers say cover thyself
And I drape myself with flimsy strands of cloth
Toe to head, mouth to hands, mind to soul
I paste and attach fabric to every space I own
And yet they come again
To peel me, layer by layer, until I am as hollow as them
My brothers say
we stand beside you
In utterance
and in faith
Yet when the sun is swallowed
every evening
I find myself sinking just a little along with its rays

My sisters speak
with swiveled tongues
of the ghosts that linger
They tell me through chapped lips and dome like bones
How rape eats more than just flesh, muscles, and bones
But then some brothers also say
that women do not have souls

Image and words © Aakriti Kuntal

19 thoughts on “Consumed

  1. Hi Aakriti, “sinking with the sun’s rays” is a powerful way of telling demeaning self-worth and the gravitation of oppressive hate. How does one believe his dear mother does not have a soul? Let’s not answer that but show that one that his thought is impossible.

    Liked by 1 person

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