To Mother’s Day

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Mother I will be born again!

 I look into the mirror

a history shrieks at my back

I carry the ruins of the civilization.

Every woman does. Every mother does.

 

I look into your eyes: the darkness

life perhaps is walking dead

through me and someone tells me:

                        you shouldn’t be

                        shouldn’t be alive.

 

This is a night before,

this is a moment before

I allowed myself

                        to be scraped out

                        of your womb,

my unformed

unborn shreds of tiny body.

 

The devil of tradition

takes over and hovers upon you

the very moment

you conceived me.

They say they see a devil

in a pregnant body,

fearful of the unknown

demand only male air

which sometimes they

themselves don’t have

in their male body.

How easy it is to play ignorant

and blame a woman for

not delivering a male child!

 

History laughs.

Nothing has changed

between now and then

from the ancient midwife’s

making the newborn baby girl

suck her poisonous thumb

to see her unborn body

through ultrasounds and

wash her out. Difference?

Only it looks more accurate,

more sure, professional,

and six months time saver.

 

After I opened my eyes

for the very first time

in the day light

I found myself alive

pulsating, and  crying.

Only after sucking on

the poisonous thumb

I was declared a dead-born!

 

Now it has changed.

I am not even allowed

to be born.

Sex-selection labs,

testing and selecting

        the only sex: male!

considering female foetus

as sub-human demon

her right to be born

            is taken away!

 

Traditional bound parents

find  a relief in aborting

their female air.

They earn an other chance

a privilege to try again

until they get it ‘right’.

 

Mother, I feel your sighs

inside your womb

I sipped your salty tears

inside your womb.

You know this sanctuary

this sacred place you offer

for both male and female

is safe temple for me.

Over a span of time

and countless loathings later

I will come again.

I will be born again and again.

I will dwell in this sacred place again!

Don’t you worry mother!

I will be there again!!

You know, I know

if we keep vanishing ourselves

the day is not far  away

when the human race

will no longer be there!

 – A poem by Surjeet Kalsey
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Voiceless Women

By Surjeet Kalsey

Yes, they are still sitting there
quietly waiting for someone
someone will come
and inscribe their fate
on their foreheads
or a stream of passion
would spring up from within
or a straw would become a pen.

Women are sitting in the house
as if they are stitting on the street
without its floor without its door
but walls are still their retreat

Voiceless women live in this house
within these four walls
without its door, without its floor
quietly they wait for someone
would come and spread out
earth under their feet.

The tale they wanted to tell
that has become aged, stopped.
The tale is circling within circle
from ages and their voice is not heard
their eyes are lit like lamps
on their wrinkled faces – waiting
waiting and waiting someone will come.
Their story is being written in their wrinkles
they will bury their story with their bodies
or a straw would become a pen
or they would remain voiceless even in this age.

The above poem was read at the Festival of South Asian Literature on 26 Sept. 2009 in Toronto in the opening session of the conference.