Amma, you tell me I get stuck in tragedies,
like a bird frozen mid-flight
You tell me I should write poems
that sound like a young woman’s laughter
dancing in spring rain
but all that all my poems sound like
are war cries of violated sisters.
So, this time I sing to you, a different verse.
An unexpected verse.
Of a man, I met, with eyes softer than a pup’s,
and a tongue that chants prayers
of gratitude to women every day.
‘But it’s a ruse to poach your trust,’ you will say, I know.
‘They’re all the same.’
But I don’t think so Amma,
did you know that I felt his heart bleed
when he read the news about that girl
and her butcher,
and even when his tears stain red on my shoulders
in the middle of an embrace, he doesn’t tell me
he’s hurting, that he’s spent the past month
patiently, carefully softening his coarse fingers
so that they could trace my skin guiltlessly,
that he trimmed his spikes for a beard,
that he bolstered his back so that
he could carry me up the stairs
when the ogles on the street drained me dry,
that he whispered harsh lessons to the parts of his body
that could accidentally rip open my past stitches,
he’s spent the last month trying to revise
and reform his core extensively,
that now when his journey stumbles
upon gruesome news like this,
he feels like it’s a personal setback.
Amma, he loves it when I talk
about my little brother, your little son.
Because when he bathes in the love pouring out
of my battered mouth for someone his kind,
he knows it’s possible that I can love him too,
and not fear him too often,
that I can see a little cub deserving
of all warm cuddles and all tender kisses
and not a beast we conditioned
to point our ancestral swords at.
Will you believe me Amma, if I tell you that this time,
I really did get lucky?
That Bhudevi heard us weep
and moulded this beautiful man into an antidote
to all the historical plagues of men,
into a remedy for misogynistic errors.
Believe me, when I tell you I’m being loved in a way
we thought only women could love,
believe me when I tell you
I probably won’t be stuck in tragedies anymore
because I believed him when he said,
‘all we need is a little love in our quills,
to turn a bloodied sheet of paper
into a romance legend.’
I finally believe a man, Amma.
Shreya Shree Chadal is a 20-year-old Hyderabad-based writer and performance poetess.
Featured image: Valentin Antonucci / Pexels