Poetry by Khushee Dogra
tw- suicide, mention of harassment
*Breeding ground for ill nurtured men*
The day i found a suicide letter in mother’s room.
Mine thought about committing suicide;
A friend from high school. His mother tried;
And my french teacher’s mother died.
Our mothers lost bodily autonomy the day they stepped
out of the their houses -
For school, to go to market and another
while going to watch a movie with friends.
His hands her cheek.
His hands her knees.
His hands her thighs.
His hands her breasts.
Our mothers’ femininity is a closely knit rag.
A living nightmare.
Our fathers speak ‘fluent english’ while our mothers
don’t speak at all.
She inherited docility, traded for lands and repute.
And the only time she slaps back is to create a graveyard of mosquitoes.
His mother, the friend from high school,
her opinions were like heat rods.
They took time to erupt for condensing
her husband’s manly etiquettes.
My teacher, she found her mother dead.
She didn’t need a letter to understand what and why.
She saw thunderbolts every night.
And so did her mother,
I sometimes see her eyes. Nothing is the same.
Nothing good comes from being gone.
For their lover’s teething,
Three of them read pablo neruda and
almost every guide to be a better wife.
Only if their femininity wasn’t taken for meekness,
they would have thrived.
When i found my mother’s suicide note,
it was only then when i stopped,
the evidence of her hands swaddling me,
her eyes heeding me,
her lips assuring me that love is there.
Because it is not. It is not.
In bed, they had their interlude of clarity.
Her blood near the door smells like rage.
Her writing reeks of patience.
Held back maternal extincts.
Who does love choose to show up as?
A trojan horse perhaps?
Leading through my father’s wit.
The stains of guilt are harder to obliterate than of sangria.
I know why our mothers hated silk sheets.
Our mothers’ bodies were breeding ground for ill nurtured men;
It’s like she landed here with all the bitter ends of cucumbers in her plate,
Agonising gracefully till she decided to abate.
They only taught us that fathers invest
in daughters like they are to not see them be brides
but get away from liability,
waiting to sold to the highest bidder.
Post haste, i sleep with stack of needles around my bed;
Ask in temples, if still my body is a
breeding ground for ill nurtured men.
If i can replenish the lives of our dead mothers
in exchange of my weak constitution;
That suicide note can not overcompensate
for the lies i see in my father’s eyes.
Our mothers learned to walk around blindfolded
in a boundation called marriage,
In a boundation called love and when
they couldn’t run back and forth anymore,
They fell on their knees and left their progenies
to survive their failed attempts at life.
Khushee Dogra (she/her) is a student by day and a wanna be connoisseur of art by night. Now, a published writer, you can find her performing theatre and spoken word in between the crevices of overwhelming audiences or practising her french accent behind the bookshelves // ig- @kaafikhushee.