Sunday 15 August 2021

Mannat Gujral, Poetry 2021 Shortlist


'you aren't like most girls',

he blurts, as I tarnish my

papyrus notebook filled with

tenacious opinions with a blotch

of ink.

what does he mean?

the abbreviated skirt draping

every remorseful inch of my thighs

has a voice of its own,

even though it gets deafened by the

friends who jeer with statements of

old-school patriarchy,

and how I should mandatorily cover up

my thighs with the haven of a jacket,

once the place gets too crowded.


my mother hushes me down,

as I begin to rebel against the overt

sexism on the dining table,

when the relatives come over.

I have been shushed ever since,

even the curse 'Imperio' would be

of no use here.

every other day,

my social media feed colonizes

an overtone of justice,

which gets easily ridiculed by

the prominent misogyny

that paves its way everywhere.

'feminism is not a dirty word'

I vociferate,

internally though,

as my testosterone-impounded

friends casually joke about its


why is it that every time I step out

of the house,

the guilt of intoxicating my soul

with joy peers over me,

glaring at me with its diabolical


women in my society have been

shrinking for centuries,

but when will this end?

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