my eyes flinch under your footsteps,
you’re stitching a doom on my fingers;
an infinite needle dips itself in my skin-
rusted with my dad’s vaine gloire.

you see, my father likes to talk about his forefathers;
quite literally- forefathers not ancestors.
history has a habit of forgetting women,
pride stomps on our necks like a sickle in brine-like summer.

erasure writes itself on my veins,
etched to my bones - i carry absence;
of it all.

you ask me about ego,
i fling myself off buildings like a red carousel,
scale inches of my skin that trespass my body;
tenderness, has a kind of vanity too-
rotten tenderness, vanity of not hardening.

i wear my scars in blasphemous conceit,
my knuckles hardened with wars against mortar-
but the cavities never fill up.

memory is a flood,
but vanity is always a quicksand puddle,
the one i keep trying to drown in.
i’m making an inventory about self-love-
i cover up the listicle with a bumpy sticker.

all of it reads “absence”, sweet abhorrence;
for god forbid a woman’s vanity wished death upon many many men,
history watches women put themselves to their grave,
as apprentices for men who spit out timidity guised as vanity

meenal jhajharia