Saranya Francis, INDIA


Don’t you see how I could, if I choose to, put an end to this bloodshed that repeats itself month on month and lasts for three, five, seven sometimes even nine days?
But I don't, out of sheer respect for the laws of nature and my choice to endure what ought to be…
 I Bleed
Don’t you see, despite the scars, the blood, the rashes that gnaw at my tenders and the horrible pain that devours my gut, I smile and do what has to be done…
I Bleed
You see, you nod, you feign empathy but continue to dare call me impure and troll my menses, force me to refer to them subtly as days, the curse, monthlies, being on the rag, time, flowers, visitors, monkey's mouth leaks, chums?, moon time, crimson tide, aunt flow, shark week, lady business, red wedding, riding the cotton pony… Oh endless names, what cacophony!
I Bleed…
Don’t you see? these periods if anything are commas, they pause to continue in their reverie unmindful of what I'm made to forgo in the name of purity, adding heaps of thoughtless lip service to an eco-insensitive soak pad industry
I bleed…
Don’t you see, it is only because I bleed that life runs in the veins of your teeming lands, don't you see it is this crimson, brown, red, maroon, pale pink, mauve madness that is the very premise of your blue-blooded moral stand?
I bleed…
Don’t you see it is these whimsical, erratic, multi-hued smears that ensure life's potency? Don't you see, that it is this very undesirable discard of my womb that gives meaning to desire and ecstasy?
Don’t you see, that unless I bleed there's no life, no heritage, no continuity…
Don’t you see that what you call impure is in fact what validates your sanctum's sanctity…
I bleed, I bleed, I bleed, and only until I do, YOU will be.


I am a seed... The same one you buried in a hurry to kill the voice you didn't want anyone to heed to or hear
I am that bolt of lightning intensifying the darkness of the ages then igniting that cleansing forest fire.

I am a vessel that fills, empties, overflows in its emptiness then fills again with versely deliverance,
I am a cloud laden with life giving water that you take for granted in your whimsical arrogance.

I am that refusal of selective privilege bowing only to the collective conscious
I am that reversal of the norm breathing reason over every covenant, stale and vicious

I am woman... Born of life, tasting freedom, redefining every control line,
I am woman... Made of greatness, the elixir nourishing the sacred trine,
I am woman... Broken thus beautiful, challenging norms, placing love in its befitting sacred shrine
I am woman... Radiant, unbridled, human, breathing meaning into everything mortal yet divine.


Don't care to pull me a chair,
Don't help open my kitchenware.
Don't think my time is always spare,
Don't say I'm born only to cook n care.
Don't believe it is okay to stare
Touch me at whim - don't you dare!
Don't decide it's okay to tell me what to wear,
Don't clothe me and let your thoughts lay bare!
Don't say "after you" or hold my door,
Don't seat me at your foot when sore.
Don't be my provider nor keep each score,
Don't decide what's best for me nor say I can't be more!
Don't call me childish names,
Don't engage me in empty games.
Don't! Oh, don't decide for me now,
Don't expect me to be your sacrificial cow.
Don't expect me to love the pill.
Don't sound the horn at your will.
Don't seat me at the window sill.
Don't you ever - ever foot my bill!

Saranya Francis is a multilingual poet with published poems in English, Hindi and Tamil. She is a social activist, freelance life skills and language trainer. She has to her credit two anthologies of poetry titled ‘Ambedo’ and ‘Being Purple’. Her poetry is featured in reputed anthologies such as Amaravati Poetic Prism, Metverse Muse and Efflorescence. She is the recipient of the Bharat Award for Literature (2018), Rabindranath Tagore Award (2017), and National Chanting Bards Award (2017). Saranya is the Secretary of ZAV Foundation, an NGO working for the cause of education and women empowerment. 

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