Women-Introducing Rishika Sangeeta

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[Poem by Rishika Sangeeta]

women are told
lies before they even understand the concept of truth
taught to be softer
sweeter
smile more
laugh less
lower your eyes you insolent witch
taught to unravel like a carpet beneath a man’s feet

there is a place for a young girls dreams
your mother tells you at 12
and it hangs itself inside closets
tucks itself silent and simmering in her snarling curls
perfumes the house with the aroma of spices and bitter compromise
you will understand when you are older she says
and her eyes shine at you like a sickle moon in an empty sky
too tired to put up a fight

women are taught
to belong
to surrender
like sheep led to slaughterhouses innocent of your deceit

women are taught
to quicken their pace as day passes into the jaws of black night
the dark hides terrors little one
and animal lust
and the only voice she hears is her mother’s
and it whispers
run!

women are taught
their bodies are commodities to be bought and sold to the highest bidder
her mother is careful to call it dowry
a bride price
as if the safe trappings of tradition and culture
somehow censors the truth
that she never belonged to herself
she never would

in this world
a woman willing to claim herself
is deadly
dangerous
an outlier

but listen to me
you belong first to the call in your veins
to the pulse in your throat
to this shell that carries you
battered and bruised through
the quagmire of living
and you are powerful
merely for existing
for enduring
for loving

never forget that

[Rishika Sangeeta is a therapist in training and a writer of romantic prose and poetry. She spends hours in communion with the dark and her heart in a constant quest to unearth some meaning from the mayhem of living.]

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