Featured Artwork: Zoe Harveen Kaur
bhabi, your daughter has a dull —
she pauses for a moment and says —
please don’t take this as an insult —
but how’s she going to find a suitor,
all i am saying is
this is for the better,
but it must be upsetting to have this worry looming
over your head —
this thought that my daughter might not get married,
or worse she never gets to put on the dark red —
sindur on her forehead.
But beta, not to worry
here’s a cream —
fair and lovely,
someday you’ll find the prince
of your dreams,
who’s charming and bubbly.
It will bleach away all the impurities
what it doesn’t mention are all the added insecurities.
If this doesn’t work,
mix turmeric, lime, and honey
with a spoonful of beson,
you will have suitors lined up
some rich engineer maybe? not to mention.
But why must it be
that my honeyed skin is considered dirt,
a topic of mockery and mirth
a shame I have brought upon my family you say
since my birth, why must it be
that my earthy skin is given bleaching creams
not deemed worthy of love,
It’s you maybe who finds it
perhaps a little daunting?
maybe my skin isn’t defined by your
rituals and customs,
a little something out of the ordinary,
yet i wear my skin like a comfortable
fur coat —
made to believe it’s faux,
an anecdote —
is what you are to me, not the whole note.