Art by Hiruni Kumari
imagine standing in a motionless line
heartbeat held fast in standstill.
force a smile, clench your jaw, say you're feeling fine.
tell yourself don’t worry, this is a customary drill.
you’re used to it, but your stomach is churning.
their eyes roam down until they meet yours
but inside your mind a fire is burning,
well wishing to fall deep through the floors.
praying pretty please with fingers crossed
you think of all the times you stood for hours
and all the games you had effortlessly lost.
imagine being told you are supposed to smell flowers,
“be more feminine,”
“girls aren’t supposed to speak up, girls don't fight back”
thinking of all the oppressed people hiding behind things you had read.
staring at blue light filtered screens, tears that made your body wrack.
feeling for someone you had never even met.
they had put your emotions into words that you could never express.
yet these feelings were old, too many copies faded vignette.
“maybe you should wear that pretty gingham dress”
maybe that’s why my eyes are glued to the floor whenever I walk into a room.
treading lightly, careful to leave precious things as they are.
maybe that’s why I now smell each rising flower as it blooms.
i’m just an ugly reflection of society, nothing special—an old memoir.