Rules for Indian unboys

by ashwinia


Their words pierced through, stood taut 
at her door, threatening 
like on a knife-thrower's board.

Short hair, short pants, but only 
an unboy who must not pore
into thick books and windows that open 
to the world.
Papa must fence unboys unless 
boy follows her name, pays 
her bills, draws her fence; her purse 
deserves no credit. Knock off 
the alphabet she prides;
where is he with more, who 
can sanction her movement, filter 
her pages, censor her wardrobe, bestow 
on her,
honor. 
Missing.
Unboy must be loose, her papa must be incapable 
if around her neck isn't a noose. 
Is it the problem that must not be named?
She is not healthy enough 
to change her name? Her scrolls curse her 
to manlessness? Pity her 
life; her schooling is wasted rupees. 
i see why father looked morose.
 
Their gaze heavy, words acidic, drooped
father's under-eyes. He stared 
at the floor as his scrawny neck 
pushed out thin words. Their morals 
pierced his closed eye lids
while taunts hung over his wooded
house in a gray cloud.
The doorbell sounded everyday
ominous - like a deep cry.
Pungent words greased her walls.
They forgot their feelings when they said bye -
it hung in the air, like toxic vapour. 

Mumma had always said:
"Beware of bad words for they travel 
faster than good words. 
Hatred knocks more doors 
than love can manage."

They announce: she must be loose 
for her virtual wall stands difiled
with rainbow words and photos with boys
who stick to her waist, scarring 
her body and her grandfather's name. 
Disgrace. 
Computers and books of impure lands
ravish our daughters. 

Unboy's tears dried on the kitchen floor. 
Father, for whom she would exchange treasures 
and breath, was slipping, 
tripping - it was her deed; 
her dreams books weighed down 
his shoulders, ideals 
killed him slow.
The architect of the life that fed 
him sips of wordy poison, impulse attacked her 
like an unanticipated torrent;
In a nod, 
a quick sentence, 
dreams were reversed. 
Her sins forgiven, she was given away 
in a red outfit, glitter, and a massive white car. 

Normalcy was bestowed 
on unboy.

Unboy endures,
hides herself.
some days when her dreams leak 
through secret words into the leather diary 
hidden behind rows of copper vessels, 
kitchen walls catch her 
crying under the old sink
and he who follows her name opens the house door.

 

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