For Her | poetry
I wanted to run away from her.
I wanted to forget her.
Her in a sari and tilak on her forehead.
Her with her head covered.
Her who wore her hair in braids,
as any other way was that of a prostitute.
Her who cried at night with no one to hold her.
Her who didn't feel well but was told it was all a lie.
Her who was smashed by Krishna at the hands of Matajis.
Her who at 6 wet her bed and wore her pee soaked panties on her head.
Her who at 7 ate her own vomit so not to offend her god
for his bounty of rotting eggplant and okra.
Her who had nightmares, haunted by karma.
Her who was there but felt invisible.
Her who was told to be quiet.
Act like a lady.
Her who was told to be seen.
Her who was told to not be heard.
Her who was told she was less than because she was a girl.
Her who was cursed at 11 with blood pouring out of her whatever.
Her who was ridiculed for her breasts,
That would one day feed her baby.
Her who would shy away from friends because she and they were bad association.
Her who could not be controlled.
Her who talked back.
Her who cursed under every sneeze.
Her who protected her brother at the hands of maniacs.
Her who stood up for her friends,
And rallied the "runaway girls" to reach for their freedom.
Her who at 11 escaped a child-hood marriage.
Her who fought against hypocrisy
Her who stood in defiance of vacant vows.
Her who was blamed for men's poor behavior.
Her who was responsible for men's sexual thoughts and unwanted advances.
Her who made men forget their place in gods kingdom with her slutty side-part, breasts like jugs, and colorful saris tightly wrapped about her tiny figure.
Her who slept in basements as punishment.
Her who lied to her parents to protect herself.
I ran away from her.
I shut her out and down.
I didn't want to remember her pain.
I had forgotten about her.
She didn't matter to them.
So why should she matter to me?
One night, as I sat on my stairwell and looked at her sweet face, my eyes welled with tears of sadness, recognition and pride.
I remembered her.
She was one among hundreds.
There is no me without her.
There is no future without her history.
There is no peace in my denial.
There is no freedom in my resentment.
There is no forgiveness in my forgetfulness.
There is no love in my fear.
Because of her, I am alive.
Because of her strength, I am free.
Because of her resilience, I breathe.
Because of her faith, I love.
Because of her, I am one among many who survived
despite oppression, misogyny and other abuses.
For all she's done for me, I give her my heart, I give her my future.
In honor of her bravery and courage, I give her my word
that I will never again be quiet.
I remember her.
Because of her I have an unbreakable bond of sisterhood.
Because of her I have learned to trust again.
Because of her I have learned to love again.
Because of her I will speak up again.
Because of her I marched.
For her, I rise.
Vanessa Elle Wilde Copyright 2017