when i think of womanhood i
remember my mother’s frost white sari draped on the bed.
i dream of a loose-lipped girl from my future who will take me down through life and pick fresh apples from the trees that line its lanes. i think of the voice from the cracks of the walls that whispers and calls and shrieks at midnight, with husky demeanour and a quiet harshness that whipped around and sung me to sleep sometimes.
the body grows to accommodate the soul, and mine rested in the soft bumps of my bosom at thirteen. there was something inside me that circled and shook and rattled, but i kept it to myself. sometimes the voice spoke through my mouth and breathed my air, but soon
we became one and the same. almost a woman. part of a w(hole).
but to attain womanhood was to grow up. to hold the world by your fist and smile at it. when i was fifteen i thought i had it all; but the divine feminine wasn’t fully mine
because i remembered smelling the fragrant afterlife
of the rose petals at her imminent shrine.
i planted my flowers in the soil and the force inside me watered it
with my tears. i hang my age around my waist like a towel, waiting
to be old enough, big enough to tread the deep ocean waters of the life i’ll encounter.
i know my womanhood is entombed in my anger, my desire to be taken seriously like her or
that one or any women in the world who seemed happier. i feel like i am rusting in this shallow steel embrace, this coldness of life without bearing the softness i’m supposed to bring. (who)manhood.
bid my time for an hour in the ashes; i am meant to be a
cleansing force. the world will turn to rubies and more. a true test, for a true being.
i walk out to the world still made of soot.
today i grow.
the mirror shows me a face encased in gold. i bring a gun out of my purse and
cry about my impending doom. womanhood!
i shoot the sky with a bullet, and all that fall are rose petals.
the men sweep them up with their lashes,
and i am taken away.
Snigdha Dhameja (she/her) is a 17-year-old high school student from Bangalore, India. She’s always been passionate about writing, but even more so about expressing the splendid, morose, and chaotic events of everyday life.
Visual Art by Anisiia Isaeva