by ashwinia


When extra bling on a lehenga grayed 
my face, longer sleeves reduced 
an evening, chappals ended 
a crucial conversation, and an imperfect skirt 
didn't let me dandiya, I asked myself:
Where does my identity live?
.
When my dress was short by a long inch and 
black velvet couldn't conceal tears 
like woollen could've, 
when words didn't sugarcoat my silk sari 
with glitter and when the silence terrified me, 
I told myelf:
Maybe my identity lives 
in my wardrobe and travels in images 
on car windows and restaurant doors 
that secretly show when I peek.
These reflections mock 
empty identities with shiny surfaces.
.
If you stripped my identity naked-
would you see bare, hollow
insides of a wardrobe?
if my leather suitcase of favorite outfits
caught fire, 
would I suffocate into 
ropes of charred fabric? 
maybe I am 
because I wear to conform.
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