they tell me my skin is parchment
meant to bear the imprint of a man’s hungry hands
that if I should come already ink stained,
a story unfurling like a runway behind me
then I am tainted, unworthy,
I carry the disease of another man’s touch on my soul
and how can that make me pure?
how can that have left me whole?
Whole for whom? I ask them.
They titter, purse their lips,
call me a child and a fool.
So I stand my ground,
craft every wound into a grenade,
turn my words into a warzone
where some find shelter,
and some find flames
I tell them I will stay
tainted as I am
I tell them that a love that cannot hold space for all of me
is not Love at all
I tell them their sons have ruined countless women already
and if there is no room for us here
then there is no forgiveness,
no absolution on Heaven or Earth
for the sins of their flesh
I tell them my body has known violence,
my heart has known loss,
and if their sons cannot see me for who I truly am
then it is I who do not want them
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.