Transactions At Traffic Lights
Smooth cheeks, plump breasts Rounded arms, invisible womb And the juncture of my thighs Rebuke me. I look away from the mirror And remember the transactions at the traffic lights. Painted face, sparkly earrings shiny sari, sexy blouse And jingling bangles on sinewy arms. They don’t hide the scars, or the pain, the blame or the shame Of acquired womanhood. I brave the mirror again I cannot see the sagging breasts, the wrinkled skin the bleeding womb, the flabby thighs, Or even what nestles between them- the mirror’s on fire I breathe deeply and catch the fragrance of The Primeval Woman. Now, at traffic lights, When there is a tinkle of glass The windows slide down Money exchanges hands before the lights turn green. That is how I give my thanks.
Glass Prism Girls
Glass Prism Girls- they live everywhere. In magazines and movies, t .v. screens and billboards. Fair –faced, smooth-skinned, long-legged, flat-stomached, perky- breasted, tight-tushed, thigh –gaped. They twirl and reflect body–parts of perfection in the light of the male gaze. We pick up these prisms Wrap them around our wrists Tie them around our necks Bind then around our arms Like talismans. We chant, As we twist and turn Starve and puke, Pluck and bleach, “Fair-skin, flat stomach, thigh gap, thigh gap” Like a mantra. Till we squeeze ourselves and transform, Like a reverse butterfly, into Glass Prism Girls. Glass Prism Girls- Expel your carefully-held breath. Shatter that prism Get up, get out, stand tall. Turn on the light of your own gaze. See the beauty of The wrinkly hand, the hairy legs The wobbly tummy, the bulgy thighs The blotchy skin and the gappy grin. Don’t look at the mirror, don’t climb the scale They can’t hold your beauty. Listen then, to the music Of the laughter in your soul. And us? Let us tear out our charms Cast them into the fire And dance to the joy Of the leaping flames.
Maya Sharma Sriram is the author of the book, ‘Bitch Goddess for Dummies.’ She is the winner of the Elle Fiction award. She was long listed for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. Her poem was short listed for the All India Poetry competition. She is the co- founder of the Chennai Lockdown Literary Festival.