Emily Thomas (Colours of Love and Barriers)

Emily Thomas
Emily Thomas is a spoken word poet, performing arts educator, thespian and professional clown from Malaysia. She has spent years facilitating workshops and curating festivals, advocating arts education and appreciation specifically for the youth. For Emily, poetry should not remain tucked away under our pillowcases, but shouted out loud on every speaker’s corner. 

Unseen

That girl
Crying in the corner of her bed
With single lined scars
From her elbow to her wrist
Hidden under her sleeves
Always covering her skin,
Tugging the material of the cloth
When her gaze meets her mother’s 
and the tension of her mother’s mouth
lets out a silent scream,
The burdening weight of being a teenager
a yoke on her shoulder
bearing down on her
You’re a woman and I see you.

That octogenarian 
Staring out the window
Warm, velvety skin on a cold metal wheeled chair
Tucked away
Hidden 
In a corner somewhere 
As her memory 
Comes and goes
Like the family who put her in the home
It starts to slip away, 
The life she shared
And the times when her strength 
And her sheer youth
Carried her husband and children
On her bones of her back
You’re a woman and I see you

That pregnant teenager
Carrying a secret in her belly
Paralysed by fear
Terrorised by trust
Traumatized by stigma
Vilified for the space in between her legs
You’re a woman and I see you

That lady who comes out to work at night
Her presence
Permeated by stale smoke
And red lights
Sitting in a dinghy room
Cradling her womb
Trapped in a rut
Where men, pay other men
To use her
And then, call her a slut
You’re a woman and I see you

That single mother 
With bruised bones
Who works three jobs
To put a warm meal on the table
And struggle with the landlord
To pay the rent
So that her children will not feel the pain
Or bear the brunt of another’s ill temper
She dries her weary tears as she walks through the door
To greet her children
You’re a woman and I see you

That domestic helper
Who left her own family
To cross the seas
And look after another family
To cook and clean and feed
Tucking away her own liberties
You’re a woman and I see you

You are not unseen
A commodity
To pass hands, 
Under veils of ambiguities 
You are a goddess
And it is in truth
Your worth is unseen
I bow to you.

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