It’s an Old Story, Ma

It’s an old story ma, of all the laughs and giggles
around me when I thought my pant as a skirt
around men. The gender binaries stopped me
from being myself but the laughs and the giggles
still didn’t let me wear the skirt I hide in my own room.

It’s an old story ma, bowing my face while being
naked in front of another man. I ask him
“Why aren’t you laughing at this vessel of a body
with knifes of shame plunged inside?”
He says, “Your bruised body speaks to me of
all the warmth you couldn’t get as a teenager.”
How far have I reached loving this imperfect body?

It’s an old story ma, of the fear at nights when
people look at me as an alien walking with the choices
he was taught to be wrong. The fear claws inside
the gut of my chest because that’s how I learnt
that I am a just a criminal in a land asking for a little love.

It’s an old story ma, of all the things I read on the walls
of the school toilet. Even if I shut my eyes, I know
someone’s there to stop me, to hold me back from breathing
inside that body that is not mine.
I am not a faggot, I am a human, with two lungs breathing
admist the war for my identity.

It’s an old story ma, of you and me sharing the same roof
yet with the secrets inside our fist rambling with the twigs
of lies. Your son was born to be the hope of
their kind, but your son is still in a cage with a body
that echoes for help.

it’s an old story ma, of you and me, looking at the rainbows but wishing different things together.

harshit, the queer in me is an old story.

Harshit Jalan (he/they) is a 22-year-old journalism student and a queer poet writing about the LGBTQIA+ community and womenhood. His favourite writer is Ocean Vuong.

Featured image: Kutiavin Vladimir / Unsplash