my roots.

there are days when i hold my roots with pride–they emanate from the golden, bejeweled shalwar kameez and frocks i wear, from the scent of biryani and chicken korma that lingers through khalas and chachas and cousins and sisters seated for dinner.

and then there are days when I yearn to rip those clothes from my skin, dig deep with my nails so my grandparents’ war, my people’s toil, the beat of wedding drums in my father’s village, and the dirt from a land I call ‘back home’…. bleed out.

they say that we hate our roots when we criticize some of their deepest held traditions and beliefs and adages…they don’t know that we are the first ones to defend it before the white man vilifies it with his senseless tongue. they don”t know how our mind tires of exhaustion from responding to every attack of our brown skin, of our God, of our very existence.

because it is our honor. just as it is yours.

 

if you try to put fear into me

 

if you try to put fear into me,

you will fail.

for the blood that flows

within the essence of my soul

is that of my parents,

who left their childhood

their kinship

their home,

to come to a foreign land

where, to this day,

they are still deemed the Other;

all

for their children,

who were yet to be born

Thirteen Years’ Worth

It’s been thirteen years

since the demon

entered my mind.

The demon,

anxiety.

 

But I am not my demon.

 

Yes,

I worry about tomorrow,

even though I’ve been told to

worry about today.

But I now know,

my demons are not as strong

as my resilience.

as my fight.

as my survival.

 

That bitter, sharp wind

may make wounds on me

with its twisted blade;

still,

it does not

rip me inside.

 

And the seasons shift,

as the ocean tides

do

when the moon beckons closer;

the light seduces me

into bearing

the winter current

for the reward of a ray of warmth

And for that,

it is worth it.