The Goddess

Poem by Aishwarya Shrivastav // Photograph by Nunzia Lollo

I am the last of the dusk

and first of the dawn

I am the high tides of sea

and deep underwaters of the ocean bed

 

Durga and Kali

Maya and mohini

Some days all of these

and some days nothing at all

 

I am the Holy body of a lotus

And also the paint of impurity painted over that girl who has just felt the first rush of blood between her thighs

The Pink the blue the black the red

All shades of rainbow and beyond these shades

 

I am  a woman

More than five letters in this word

More whole than five elements of this world

Erased boundaries and marks of my own ways
I was 16 when I stopped folding hands in front of a god I didn’t believe in

I began worshipping myself

In second grade my teacher taught me that god is inside me

Since then temples felt like the places I didn’t know what to go for

 

It took 20 damn whole years to finally be confident under my own skin

So when I finally started embracing it

They termed it as an indecent public display of too much skin

And I realised

There’s nothing like too much skin

There’s just too much of confidence

which sometimes will bother them

But never let anyone feed you suppression in name of protection

Burn their eyes with brightest neon bra straps

Walk with your head high in skirts which show your legs

Because covering up shouldn’t be a synonym for ‘classy’

Buttoned up or all naked we all are drop dead sassy

 

Because

Empowerment doesn’t work in saying avoid going out at night

it lies in telling go out ,claim your places and fight

If I am old enough to decide the future of my country which I live in,

Am I not bold enough to decide mine?

 

In my self defense classes

the instructor taught us not to smile in order to not attract attention

After that day I never went to the classes because I guess the first rule to self defense should have been to be defensive towards one’s own expressions

I decided very early that the fear of attracting unwanted attention wouldn’t ever stop me from smiling ear to ear on a happy Monday

 

I am

Flower bands and satin bows

And blood stained boxing gloves

I am a woman

cosmic and earthly

unclean of societal expectations

which make me vulnerable

But more of a rebel

 

I am Balms

and bones

baptised by swears

I am my own goddess

The creation and the creator

The one that I need to worship

I may take a woman

Or a man

Or both

And the only person who can decide that will be me

Because the only rolls I find cute are tummy rolls and not your suffocating decaying gender roles

I am  first shade of anger slamming my heart on the day I was first groped

Second shade of embarrassment when I put on my first bra

Third shade of power when I slapped instead of getting spanked

I paint More than fifty shades to my existence

And hundred to colour them darker.

 

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Aishwarya Shrivastav

Aishwarya Shrivastav currently pursuing History hons from University of Delhi began writing poetry as a form of diary entry. She strongly believes in the revolutionary power of words and is a strong advocate of free hugs and free food. Bad at goodbyes and math.

Nunzia Lollo

Nunzia Lollo is a young photographer based in a little town near Rome. She loves photography and her camera is always with her. She hopes her work will be appreciated and enjoyed. Follow her on Facebook.

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