A Letter to My Sisters
You are your mother's daughter, my therapist says, and i blink— because i have my father's eyes. In this winding brook, i was born twice in acid ecstasy. i am nineteen, my head is too heavy for my hands. How do they do it? my best friend says, maybe a roofless sky can taste sweeter than concrete. i was three when i first met another who had my lungs, but with five dozen more winters suffused, But why does your voice sound like a man’s? and when i tear open the insides of my palms, ribboning around them in henna is Nani. Nani. Nani. Clap. But, Grandmother, still i look away from your betel juice-stained lips only at nightfall, to embrace you on this cursed street, to fall apart in your arms and ask, how do you do it? how did you do it? will it ever get better? Then your forgiving hands leave me in kerosene-pressed flowers as i watch my father ask the driver to pull up the windows, the crumpled fifty-rupee note in my hand burning under his gaze— the price of touch, the womb of sisterhood. My sisters in tears. My sisters in rage. My sisters in shame. Can you ask god to clap?
Sarah Aziz is a poet, translator, and artist based in Kolkata, India. She is currently majoring in English Literature at Loreto College, University of Calcutta. In 2021, her translation of Bangladeshi activist and author Pinaki Bhattacharya’s “History of Bengal: from Ancient to British Rule” was published.