Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Spills to Remember You By: A Poem on Domestic Violence

Juveria Tabassum



Meena Kandaswamy’s When I Hit You, talks about domestic violence for what it actually is- an almost accepted fact of life for most women in our country. It opens up a conversation about an issue so rampant and yet shrouded in secrecy. I think reading such a book will enable us to have a much-needed dialogue about the inherent patriarchal mindset of our society that allows domestic abuse to continue in abject silence, and often without any consequences for the perpetrators.
Most importantly, it talks about a woman who was able to leave behind an abusive marriage and take steps towards healing and moving on. That, I feel, is the inspirational catharsis required by most women, and that is what makes When I Hit You a must-have on my reading list.
This poem is about a woman who tries to look past the bandaged times and bruised memories of abuse, and resurrect herself.

Spills to Remember You By


She lifts her eyes
Meets those of the stranger in the mirror
Watches

As a shaking hand lifts itself
Probes-
A fresh gash under her lip
Coagulation-
Of fresh blood and old questions
She searches the stranger’s face for answers-
Silence.

A whole year of bewildering silence.

The class jester had fallen in love-
And love, it turned out, was no joke.
She tried, for a while,
To drown out the tears of the present
With symphonies of past laughter-
But when flesh and bones are stained every night,
How can memory stay untouched?

“The jester is dead,” says the stranger in the mirror.
“Not quite,” she smirks,
Wide, hard, until the laughter refuses to stop
Her wound splits open
Now she raises her own hand,
Dips a finger in the red,
Smears across the mirror-

“The joke’s on you, dear lover,
“Jesters never die.”

She recalls walking out,
As she walks onto the stage-
“Some stand-up comedians,” she says,
“Have to sometimes stand up for their lives.”


Fallen not Broken