Poem by Vaishnavi Sharma
I come from a stretched out lineage of compelling women; lionesses, looking after conquered lands and pouncing at evils greater than their beings, fierce.
I have Amma’s hands; hands that spell out S T R E N G T H on the backs of the corpses of men who found me intimidating, who felt the need to sew an ode to my maiden name onto their wrists after having a few glances at me. Hands that are artists of their own, painting portraits of Kartikay, weaving huts of bravery for warriors to rest in while she transforms into Kali and protects her kin, her village, herself.
I have Abi’s shoulders; upright and robust, prepared to take charge at other’s incompetence, even at the fraying of her vigour. The only time I have seen her look feminine is in that black and white photo from the 60s; the pleats of her shira placing itself softly on her shoulder before it bent and extended to her waist, a shalba tucked at the start and her luminous smile. She says she had to chop her hair off, to learn the art of letting go, breaking free, until she had the patience to watch them grow back again. She says I know that’s why You chopped yours off but witches are forbidden to share their secret ingredient in front of other witches, Koi.
I have a firm grip, just like my mother; grabbing the reigns of the family, holding it together at the cost of her freedom.
She says her freedom came to her In wrapped parcels with the blood Of her father, grandfathers, fore-fathers and the tears of the women in her family. She says she didn’t fight for it, She says she didn’t need to And that’s exactly why it doesn’t feel like her own, so she rejects it; refuses to call herself a free woman till the blood that spills is her own, till the ropes that bind her are burnt with the heat of her grip.
The women in my family were silent spectators of the male anger – feasting, magnifying into a humungous creature, gulping the humane part of men they’ve grown to know and love; men, they are now unafraid to crush underneath their radiating paws, it’s a revolution among the lionesses, it’s a revolution among the lionesses
Vaishnavi is an 18-year-old student, walking through life losing her pens, temper, paints, mind, etc. She likes to talk (a lot) about poetry, history, sciences, and politics. Can always be found with her nose in between the pages of a book, uninterested in the torments of this world. Columnist at Teen Belle Magazine and Headcanon Magazine. She inconsistently publishes her poems and other works at www.umvaishnavi.wordpress.com. You can find her chirping on Instagram.