Poem and Photo copyright Vibina Narayan

My eyes lay burning

Buried in the sockets leading to

synapses of a thousand other sisters

like me.

We smell of garlic, laundry and tears

of our children, parents and friends.

And yet you won’t shy away your chance from us.

It takes a long, deep breath,

(even more than that),

to summate how we still claw through the mud

with our small fingernails (thrice harder than you)

to reach our graves and yet find a shallower one.

My hands are wrinkled and scarred,

like a thousand other sisters of mine.

From the history of meals we have cooked and served to

tender caresses for the aching heart we have given.

We become your wives, and safeguard your souls

from lack, lax and lassitude

Metaphorically becoming the pole on which you

pitch your tent.

Home, hearth, warmth and light we bring,

Thunder, lightning and rainstorms too.

You call us a misery and

Still pine for this agony

in every sleepless night and dreaming day,

Oh yes, you do! (You know that)

My waist is no longer mine,

And a thousand other sisters would echo too.

Bearing your blood, giving birth to your time

A life to your dreams, the hope in your joy

Nurturing while we run on nothing, giving while we get emptied

And it is a testament of happiness to us.

Lines and scars and loose skin but a souvenir of

A promise we once made for you.

Until you move to a new land with fresh perspectives

and similar but parched promises.

My voice is no longer mine,

And a thousand other sisters will agree too.

Because you sound loud and wish to keep it that way

And we know even though you talk

We will be walking your plans (or over them)

To oil the cogwheels

For the world to run and have a peaceful

night of sleep,

Just like how we tuck you and your children to bed

Safe and sound with a night full of relieved snores,

While we close our eyes the last

And open them the first, letting them burn

To light another day of our lives.