“Where I Come From” by Vinita Agrawal
I come from the sands
where words sprout like cacti
when girls are born.
I come from ochre, autumn-hued earth
baked dry under a fierce sun.
Where grit and wind needle the eyes
Where storms compel women
to live inside tombs of veils.
I come from a place
where dusk turns into a seductress at night
lying velvety warm
on bohemian linen charpoys.
I come from the land famous for making puppets.
Both from wood and flesh.
The wooden ones entertain children
Flesh puppets entertain men – for life.
I come from a geography
where girls embroider a silence
unfurling quilts of wordlessness
vast like star-studded desert skies.
Their quietude as deep as the space
where tears are born
High as the walls that keep history in
but also subtle
like the rivers that roamed these plains once.
Gurgling, buoyant ghaghra-clad girls
now untraceable, lost forever.
That’s where I come from.
Ghaghra : flowing skirt.
Vinita Agrawal’s Artist Statement: Author of four books of poetry, Vinita is an award-winning poet, editor, translator and curator. She lives in Mumbai, India.