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 - surely possessed by demons.
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 protected her brother at the hands of maniacs.
Her who stood up for her friends.
Her who cursed in every sneeze,
And rallied the “runaway girls” to reach for their freedom.
Her who at 11 escaped a childhood marriage.
Her who fought against hypocrisy,
And laughed in defiance at their vacant vows.
Her who was blamed for men's poor behavior.
Her who was responsible for men's sexual thoughts and
Her who made men forget their place in god’s kingdom with her
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?
As I sat on my stairwell and look into her sweet face,
my eyes welled with tears of
SADNESS, RECOGNITION and PRIDE.
I remembered her.
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, tyranny and abuse.
For all she's done for me, I give her my heart and my future.
In her honor and for her bravery and courage,
I give her my word ——— 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 speak up again.
Because of her I march.
FOR HER, I RISE.
©2017 Vanessa Elle Wilde. All Rights Reserved.