The Softness of Words

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A spoonful of honey and holy basil,

it’s good for your throat, my mom would say

maybe those years of gulping it down

sticky sweet, trickling down my throat

softened my words at last

blunted the sharpness of my weapons.


Last year, I stuffed my words

into a dark and dank trunk

they grew mouldy and coughed up blood

I am so very ashamed to tell you

I seemed to have always peeked inside the trunk

When I had nothing soft to say.


I let them rise up to my throat

and roll onto my tongue

balancing their heavy weight at the tip of my tongue

I tried, I promise you I did, to taste its shape

But my bitterness stretched its arms in its sleepy slumber

and knocked my desperate words at your feet.


You didn’t hear them, you heard nothing

you let silence overstay its welcome

grow wild in a valley of its own

walk barefoot there if you caan

you will find a basketfull of my words

growing lush alongside wildflowers and ferns.


Months have churned in the great belly of time

now I count my words like change

a teaspoon of honey and holy basil

and a tablespoon of honesty

a dash of kindness and a sprinkle of softness

words sticky sweet, clinging to your ears, collecting in your tongue.




Indian Goddesses

Processed with VSCO with a5 preset
Sketch by @bitesizedsanity on Instagram 

In India,

our women are wrapped ever so delicately

layers of white tissue paper enfolded over their bodies

like dolls, they are stored away in boxes

only to be brought out when they pretend play goddesses

or when dusk falls and the men come home

when they take off their inhibitions and rip off their skin

the dolls come out, but ssh they mustn’t let their desires show

tuck them away like a stray strand of hair

lie still, bite down on your body’s needs, let the man do his work

making love, you say? Does love not ask for consent?

Is love aggression, thrusting into an unyielding fruit, in and out?

wounded ego and years of fractured patriarchy

trying to fit into the mould of a man by inseminating the fruit

our women are fierce in folklore

our women are allowed their own history inside temples

but don’t talk to them about desires and dreams

they keep their bodies insulated with rage

desire, a deep gushing tide they allow to flow in their minds

a soft touch and a parting kiss, phantoms take over their dreams

we have been muffling our women

under the weight of boundaries and expectations

refusing their existence

allowing them survival, but not living

why did we bait them with wings, if we never meant for them to fly?


  • Shiuli