We’re bound for the ocean and a largesse of sky, we’re not looking for the truth or living a lie. We’re coming apart, we’re going downhill, the fury’s almost done, we’ve had our fill. We’re passionate, ironic angelic, demonic, clairvoyant, rational wildly Indian, anti-national. We’re not trying to make our peace not itching for a fight, we don’t need your shade and we don’t need your light. We know charisma isn’t contagious and most rules are egregious. We’re catabolic women. We’ve known the refuge of human arms, the comfort of bathroom floors, we’ve stormed out of rooms, thrown open the doors. We’ve figured the tricks to turn rage into celebration, we know why the oldest god dances at every cremation. We’ve kissed in the rose garden, been the belles of the ball, hidden under bedcovers and we’ve stood tall. We’re not interested in camouflage or self-revelation, not looking for a bargain or an invitation. We’re capable of stillness even as we gallivant, capable of wisdom even as we rant. Look into our eyes, you’ll see we’re almost through. We can be kind but we’re not really thinking of you. We don’t remember names and we don’t do Sudoku. We’re losing EQ and IQ, forgetting to say please and thank you. We’re catabolic women We’ve never ticked the right boxes, never filled out the form, our dharma is tepid, our politics lukewarm. We’ve had enough of earnestness and indignation but still keep the faith in conversation. We’re wily Easterners enough to argue nirvana and bhakti, talk yin and yang, Shiva and Shakti. When we’re denied a visa we fall back on astral travel and when samsara gets intense we simply unravel. We’re unbuilding now, unperpetuating, unfortifying, disintegrating. We’re caterwauling, catastrophic, shambolic, cataclysmic, catabolic women.
First Published in Love Without a Story, 2019.
Arundhathi Subramaniam is a poet who has recently won the Sahitya Akademi Award, 2020, for her book When God is the traveller (2014). She has authored a number of books and won multiple awards and fellowships. She has been part of a number of numerous anthologies and journals.