For days on end I've looked beyond
The tall boundary of an old apartment
Where trees have swayed and broken leaves,
Keep filling the cracks in the cement.
Reading Emily, Woolf and Nasreen
I don't cover my feathers anymore
Neighbouring men and women intervene
They can dislike what I am free to adore.
A mind full of ideas and not fears,
Of novels, poetry and legends before
The death of another Judith Shakespeare
Only I have the keys to my door.
Space for my ceramic blues and ginger tea,
Wild skirts and the scent of flowers
Hair unbound in this sunny balcony,
The chaos of feminity. Power.
While eyes follow me with authority,
To tell me what I can't do, what I don't know,
My ambitions mistaken for penis envy,
But you can't fool a phenomenal woman, a by-heart Angelou.
Is it this tropical skin or the mystic bindi?
Are you staring at the outline of my breast?
I couldn't care less, in my easy chair in the balcony
I've grown. Every woman is a Goddess.
The tall boundary is crumbling to the floor,
New trees grow tearing through the rigid stone;
Virginia found the room she was looking for,
And I? I've found a sky of my own.
Illustration by Dhanashree Pimputkar