A Love Poem

Sweat running down her spine,

Burning away her life, standing in front of the stove,

Stomach cut into two, butchered for two,

I look in her eyes.

Her empty glaze,

Sold her life so that I could breathe,

Silently teaching me,

To never tear myself apart to

Negotiate someone else’s need.

Papa asks me why I speak so much –

I speak on behalf of my mother and me.

I am what she was never allowed –

I am not forced to contain anyone’s seeds in me,

I could be me, without feeling guilty –

The sacrifice was made by her

So that I can breathe.

Burning away her life, standing in front of the stove.



Ritika is a student of MA English at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi with research interests in women narratives and literature, gender and sexuality, and violence and torture narratives.

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