You didn’t know you had breasts
Until the doctor touched you there on the behest of checking,
The stomach, and your body turned into a bed of hair thorns in fear and precaution.
You half-understood puberty and harassment as one word on your way out of the clinic,
You found its countless definitions on your way back
in the public bus,
you felt the antonym of free in the wriggling
chances of the pairs of hands and the indifferentiable men – uncles, boys.
You wished fear was stillborn, but this fear is an active verb
That you understood the other undeciphered half in a familiar silence crawling like the
ghosts under your bed at night,
Just like in nightmares, your limbs are tied and you’re trotting on the very spot of danger
Now I don’t know whether you should
close your eyes to avoid or open your eyes to escape.
I feel sorry I haven’t found a way
From the lurking shadows, following footsteps and the advancing hands.
I try to invoke the goddess, chant dolled names in the darkness,
Try to gather the roots and creepers and the soils where girls before you –
their hearse lies, let the souls garble the right hymn
in the whistling and howling night in the woods,
The men with torchlights chase me,
They start calling me witch.