I am a bad girl, mother,
I was born with questions.
I had asked you in my childhood –
why was father not home for days?
I had asked you in my adolescence –
why do you hide the wounds on your face?
Why do you smile after every night’s forceful sex?
Why do you bear my father’s beatings?
Why can’t I touch things of my father while menstruating?
I had asked you in my girlhood –
why can’t I choose my partner?
Why can’t I buy napkins from a shop?
Why do you call my marriage unscriptural,
and my own choice an “elopement”?
I had asked you in my wifehood –
why do you ask me to adjust with my husband?
Why do you want me to tolerate violence?
Why did you slam the door in front of me,
when I left my husband’s name?
I am a bad girl to you, mother.
I ask you why I don’t deserve love,
why am I being deprived of my ancestral land?
Why do you feel shame in saying my marital status?
Why am I always a bad girl to you, mother?
Why haven’t you ever been my abode, mother?
Moumita Alam is a poet from West Bengal. Her poetry collection The Musings of the Dark is available on Amazon.