She knows the dishes need cleaning
She knows the floor needs sweeping
She knows the furniture needs dusting
And she knows he is not going to
do them with her
So she does them
After all
she was taught good and bad women
reside on opposite ends of the earth
and she must never stir the one
sleeping in her
She knows before her day ends
an old day begins again
She knows she would have to
cook dinner
take out the trash
clean the dishes
sweep the floor
dust the furniture
So she does them
Before he comes home
and asks her why
she decided to make aalo paalak
when he wanted to eat haleem


My history books taught me
if we divide a people into two
each will pack their bags with
religion, ethnicity, caste, sexuality
heave it over their relieved backs
and place the contents safely in a new home
My history books did not teach me
what to do with contents that
spill over


All my life
I was taught to draw circles around me
And when my body began to look like
a woman’s
the circles became tighter
Until they were a yoke
suffocating me
My voice became small
and feeble
Until you could not even hear
the anger that lurked
Until you could not even fathom
the storm that
broke you in half

Artwork by: Paul Gauguin