Trigger warning: This poem contains mention of sexual abuse.
On a cold winter night,
There was a snowstorm outside.
The wind raged on,
And there was darkness all around.
I curled myself under the blanket.
I held my knees,
As I tried to sleep.
I was about to doze off,
With music playing in my ears.
It was past 3 am when I felt it.
I felt cold fingers moving on my skin.
I couldn’t move or scream.
I couldn’t ask for help.
I stayed there,
Pretending that I couldn’t feel the fingers,
While they glided on my skin.
The fingers were crawling on my skin,
On my back, then my waist.
They were on my thighs and then my knees.
They disappeared, and I sighed relief–
Then they were back under my clothes.
On my chest; and then on my throat.
I choked on tears and tried to stay still.
I was about to cry when I woke up,
Gasping for breath and drenched in sweat.
The nightmare had returned after years–
Ten years to be precise.
My arms felt numb
And my eyes were swollen
I have tried to hide and run
I have told myself that no one can harm me
But the fingers crawling on my skin think otherwise.
Sauleh goes by the pseudonym, Chilaikalaan. He was born and raised in Srinagar, Kashmir and is currently based in Bangalore.