Carving My Place (Three poems)

1. Sticky soft cotton candy vanishing on our tongues and ice cream dripping past our fingers


Bicycle wheels spinning and spinning by

Knees scabbed over and asphalt biting into the softness of our palms


Light up sketchers and rolling in grass


Have you ever felt nostalgia for something that was never yours?


A part of me wishes I had that story

Of a small town and people I grew up with

A place I could call my own, steeped with memories and stories


Do you remember that time? And this one? And this?


Memories are like coins we tuck into our well worn pockets, rubbing them smooth between our fingers


I have shed a thousand skins and crossed a thousand miles to reach this point

I tore myself apart and scattered myself all over the world

I am still learning to stitch myself back up at the seams


2.

Recent nights find me sleepless in my bed

Days and days falling away and I'm left stumbling blindly


Miles and miles away from you

Miles and miles away from home

I'm starting to understand why they tell us to never build a home in another person


All I want is to grab the fabric of the world in my fists and yank it closer, draw you nearer

Oceans and continents crumpling away, colliding and folding into each other, vanishing into nothing


There is no word for goodbye in my mother tongue

Only until next time


Until next time, my head will snap up at the roar of every airplane

And I'll ache at the sight of the strangest, smallest things that remind me of you


3.

An elder once told me that our people slipped raw rice to choke

on in the mouth of a newborn if it was a girl

Daughters are a burden, he says

I shudder, deep within my bones and huddle in my skin

To be a woman, I realize, is to be at war

With the world, with ourselves

What a shame that we cannot exist without feeling the need to justify it

I know my mother's story and her mother's story

Pain is passed down like an heirloom

With their gold and silks

And it brands me as well

When I look in the mirror, it is not just my face I see

One day, I will learn to stand straight

And no longer shrink in the corners

My clumsy tongue will cease to fumble

And I will carve out a place for myself

Yes, shamelessly

But oh yes, proudly


By Sudiksha Ravichandran


In collaboration with YWMTU (@yourwordsmattertous)

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