soft flesh, rosy and feminine, eyes nacreous,
why so vulnerable in fear? they tell you not
to don strapless dresses and skinny jeans, harem
pants and oversized kurtas shall keep you in
style. never make eye contact, for the innocent
glint in your eye will be mistaken for lust, and

the blame and foreign touch shall fall upon your
conscience. if you bleed vodka and infuse tequila
in your sighs, they say it is as bad as sashaying down
the streets in a gown that accentuates your figure,
swishing your hips to a rhythm composed by yourself.
in the end, you are told that your girth shall never

belong to you, unless you wear a rubber vest that is
tattooed to your skin. but oh no, tattoos and piercings
and cleavage-exposing garments label you a promiscuous
tart. might as well resort to the fact that if you’re bruised and
bloodied, it’s because you didn’t scream loud enough. they
tell you to stay at home, burn your hands making chapatis

and reach intellectual fulfillment by carving out your
name in the dust. tie your hair in pigtails, keep the insects
out, crack egg yolks in a pan and feel the miry ooze trickle
down your hands. you listen to them, because it is said that
if you see leering shadows imprinted on the alley walls, you
shall feel a reddened river emerge. and nothing can be done

to save you. in your dreams, whispered when your eyes start
to close, you are told that in the end it was all your fault. you
are lucky you survived the womb.    



Richa Gupta is a teen poet and blogger from Bangalore, India. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of Moldero Magazine, and enjoys blogging for The Huffington Post. Richa's poem is a rebellion against society's pervasive rape culture.