He painted me dark like the goddess on
the wall, and in grandma’s locket.
Then, he pinned me against glass; Hands
apart, wide-eyed, coffee-skinned; My arms
covered with copper bangles, fingers bore
silver rings, golden chains in my neck,
along with a rope that also held my feet, to
tie me upside-down, to bind my leg to the
fan if I screamed aloud for help one more
I pulled my tongue out and roared, he
sniffed my tears and hit me hard to make
me feel like a balloon of hot air, like his
drugs did at the start.
I recalled my tiger skins that I had
stopped wearing because enough tigers
had been killed; And, my chain of skulls
had been snatched away when I was
younger; They called me insane for
fancying heads ripped apart from their
bodies. I told them it was my hunger to kill
men in this way, for men had murdered
me; men had sneaked underneath my
hides, every day of my life.
Men had scratched my soft skins with their
claws so that I bled in their arms.
Arms, that I only wanted to tie around my
waist and dance.
My weapons, they’d all been banned. I still
command, my worth is spit upon.
“Do I need to ride a lion to prove that I am
He ended his devotion and chanted,
“waah,” as he set me free.
I should have walked away, but I stood
there, a tree.
Until, I flexed my branches as if I had four
arms, shook my head in courage, picked
up a sword, waved, and brushed open his
neck, his face lay at his feet;
I now had a new locket.
– not all girls are happy wearing diamonds
Bio: mahish.asur-mar.dini: I gave myself this title a short time ago. I have always felt it in me; I am meant to cleanse the world of its neck-gripping flaws that suppress women. mahish.asur-mar.dini – it’s a Sanskrit word that means ‘killer of monsters’. I hope to kill them in my poems. I hope to kill the monsters in the minds of people. I am change; I am breaking every glass ceiling I see. I will make this world better. You can also check out my work on Instagram: @nidhie_saini