The Sun and Her Flowers (13 page)

the universe took its time on you

crafted you to offer the world

something different from everyone else

when you doubt

how you were created

you doubt an energy greater than us both


when the first woman spread her legs

to let the first man in

what did he see

when she led him down the hallway

toward the sacred room

what sat waiting

what shook him so deeply

that all confidence shattered

from then on

the first man

watched the first woman

every night and day

built a cage to keep her in

so she could sin no more

he set fire to her books

called her witch

and shouted whore

until the evening came

when his tired eyes betrayed him

the first woman noticed it

as he unwillingly fell asleep

the quiet humming

the drumming

a knocking between her legs

a doorbell

a voice

a pulse

asking her to open up

and off her hand went running

down the hall

toward the sacred room

she found


the magician's wand

the snake's tongue

sitting inside her smiling

when the first woman drew magic with her fingers

i will no longer

compare my path to others

i refuse to do a disservice to my life

i am the product of all the ancestors getting together

and deciding these stories need to be told

many tried

but failed to catch me

i am the ghost of ghosts

everywhere and nowhere

i am magic tricks

within magic within magic

none have figured out

i am a world wrapped in worlds

folded in suns and moons

you can try but

you won't get those hands on me

upon my birth

my mother said

there is god in you

can you feel her dancing

(ode to matisse's

as a father of three daughters

it would have been normal

for him to push marriage on us

this has been the narrative for

the women in my culture for hundreds of years

instead he pushed education

knowing it would set us free

in a world that wanted to contain us

he made sure that we learned

to walk independently

there are far too many mouths here

but not enough of them are worth

what you're offering

give yourself to a few

and to those few

give heavily

invest in the right people

i am of the earth

and to the earth i shall return once more

life and death are old friends

and i am the conversation between them

i am their late-night chatter

their laughter and tears

what is there to be afraid of

if i am the gift they give to each other

this place never belonged to me anyway

i have always been theirs

to hate

is an easy lazy thing

but to love

takes strength

everyone has

but not all are

willing to practice

beautiful brown girl

your thick hair is a mink coat not all can afford

beautiful brown girl

you hate the hyperpigmentation

but your skin can't help
carrying as much sun as possible

you are a magnet for the light

unibrow—the bridging of two worlds

vagina—so much darker than the rest of you

cause it is trying to hide a gold mine

you will have dark circles too early
—appreciate the halos

beautiful brown girl

you pull god out of their bellies

look down at your body


there is no home like you

thank you

learning to not envy

someone else's blessings

is what grace looks like

i am the first woman in my lineage with freedom of choice. to craft her future whichever way i choose. say what is on my mind when i want to. without the whip of the lash. there are hundreds of firsts i am thankful for. that my mother and her mother and her mother did not have the privilege of feeling. what an honor. to be the first woman in the family who gets to taste her desires. no wonder i am starving to fill up on this life. i have generations of bellies to eat for. the grandmothers must be howling with laughter. huddled around a mud stove in the afterlife. sipping on steaming glasses of milky masala chai. how wild it must be for them to see one of their own living so boldly.

(ode to amrita sher-gil's
village scene 1938)

trust your body

it reacts to right and wrong

better than your mind does

it is speaking to you

i stand

on the sacrifices

of a million women before me


what can i do

to make this mountain taller

so the women after me

can see farther


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