Mother and I

By Kaybee Singh

We were probably talking about something over the phone;
yes - a GIRL
My mother told me about how we knew each other for long,
How beautiful she is
The fortune and bliss she brings to her house and “our” families
The unions, the celebrations, the festivities

 She still refuses to believe and know
 That I could never give her the happiness she deserves
That her whole world will be destroyed
When she knows, that I am not the man
Who can be hers, or rather, only hers
I am only his

Every time I speak the truth
Her stomach churns
Her universe implodes
And the pieces of our togetherness
Are forever lost, forever destroyed

How do I tell her I cannot see her pain
But yet, cannot hide my own?
How do I tell her that she is condemned to live
While I’m condemned to live with people like her?

She loved my father
His dark flannel shirts, his smile
His thoughts and his warmth
Sons look for their mothers in theirs
I looked for him in mine
And then, suddenly
I become the monster abhorred
A Kafkaesque disaster
A burden, an evil omen, a riddance

I ask her
Is that why you kept me in your belly
For 9 Months
So you can dictate:
My 90 years?

I know they’ve never let you feel those things
Your desires, passions
All your sacrifices
Akin to a cannibalistic offering
To the gods of propriety and virtue
But must you see your own kin
Go through the hells of fire they made you believe was your heaven?

Why should I be the hymen
They told you to preserve
When you caged your passions
With tradition, honor and sacrifice?
The heaven they made you believe
Is now becoming my hell
Is now becoming your heaven
Must the cycle continue?

I suffer
In my inability to make you happy,
I suffer
But sometimes he makes me happy
I suffer
Because my happiness
Others cannot see or believe.

But I suffer the most
Because my mother
Who felt satiated
When I was full
Sends me to starve in love
Thinking, she is feeding me

Next time you tell me
With your denial
How you’ve saved your jewelry
For the Bride-to-be
I will dream
Of all that gold and silver
Melting into karas[1]
As we wear them
Glistening, in an everlasting walk
Into the saturated sunrise
Reminding me of your smile

That my desires
Meant your completion


 [1] Religious Sikh Bangles, traditionally worn by Sikh and Punjabi people, symbolizing eternal attachment and devotion to the God. For more info:


  • K- you write with so much passion. I love how you’ve depicted the situation with so much nuance. Your mother is not a monster but someone who paradoxically struggles with the same patriarchy she now dictates to you. The image of the Karas is particularly beautiful.

  • I could feel the angst and despair in every word you so beautiful penned down. Sharing this with all my friends. Please keep writing, you’re absolutely beautiful.

  • Wow. I loved every part of it. It’s very well structured and the journey that you make us go through is beautiful. Keep it up

    Priyanka Arora
  • This is such a beautiful poem. The thought process is so lovely and coherent. Lovet it!


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