Wednesday Poem

Afternoon Tea

I look forward to offering,
Glimpses of my land,
To our foreign neighbors –
Our white-wide-eyed friends,
Laughing at jokes private to myself,
Knowing a couple of things,

Or more than they, do.

But when I am your wife,
Second half of your life,
I falter, I don’t know why,
But I cease to find a self of mine.
There stops being an ‘I’,
When I am your wife.

(I don’t, just don’t know, why)

Somehow I feel the need to snatch,
That expert opinion of the secret of my long beautiful hair,
From your superior mouth.
That anecdote,
The knowledge nugget,

That no one cares about, really.

And my India, is not your India,
And our India is different too.
You can narrate the dusty traffic,

And I can relate to lazy noons.

Why should we struggle, I wonder,
On the exact degree of which spice,
And at the end why do we just resign,
To a word of marriage as our excuse,​

Of all our bruised social contracts?

As your wife,
Is not that the same
For you,

As my husband?

There is no fault of you,
(or at least not completely)
My wife-ness needs a you,

But not the ‘I-ness’, true.

I witness a war of pronouns –
Where is the I, the we, the me, the you,
In the folk stories of that land,
In the blue eyes of friends,
In the polite smiles of guests?
Who does even India belong to,

To me, or all of you?

It seeps into an unthought,
Hovering in my non-senses,
Its sting is felt acutely,
In days as normal,
As happy, as exciting,
As today.
by Anam Akhter