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Aug 2017
On a white marble floor
If you're a woman,
you already have
one foot out the door
of a room filled with
all the conversation
and opportunities
that a man can afford.

This is a scene we've all seen before.
Paid way less
when you're told
that you worked way more.
I'm sure a client will adore my face
in a meeting,
but what do i do with the horror
when he hears me speaking?

I'm reeking of the sour aftertaste of everyday misogyny.  
My worth measured
by the distance between
my skirt and the floor.
And when I protest,
politely, of course
Being told that I can do better,
I can be more than a bore.

My skin revolts
From the last time a colleague
brushed his hand accidentally
against my everything.
My strength and independence rot
in catacombs made from begrudging wombs,
waiting for their lives to begin
before building a tomb for another.

My ears hear no corporate conflict.
My eyes read no unjust verdict.
My knees wobble of no panic.
My voice even now is not frantic.
I try to use my woman card as a shield,
But they already know I'll yield
Because sadly
Feminism, safety, and my daily routine
don't get along very well with each other.

If I could stretch myself to my full capacity;
If you'd let me stretch myself to full capacity,
I'd be taller than these nine yards,
Stronger than this silken thread ,
Darker than this black,
Louder than this naked mic.

My worth is equal to the number of folds in this sari.
                Ever changing.
As I shift move walk stumble run shuffle sprint
Into the storm.

Riot chhod,
I'm a civil war of colour.
Black sari
Black eyes
Black bindi
Golden jhumkas
Red lips
Multicoloured sword at my hip
Swinging at the shackles they placed on me.

Din ke dus dangey lad jaati hu mai,
Saal ki solah siyaahein bharke ruk jaati hu main,
Kabhi kahin khade rehne ki jagah mil jaye,
Toh iss duniya ki acchhaai se thak jaati hu main.
As performed at OSS E#15
That's why it reads weird, prolly.
Shivani Lalan
Written by
Shivani Lalan  India
     ---, --- and Kelly Scanlon
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