Meena Kandasamy

(1984 - / Chennai / India)

Excerpts From A Study Guide - Poem by Meena Kandasamy

Teach him not to seek
Where he has been taught to find...


Lead him into the land
Of silences—Ignore his words of praise
Where all the perfidy hides...


Because the climax of a dream
Is its return to reality, let him cling
To your laughter, to your eyes that shine of light...


Make him study the gilt of gold
Against the wan brown of your skin but let him choose...


Exhibit your flawless arms
Dearest child of 1984—no vaccination mark
Nothing to remind him of his Maari or small pox...


Lead him to count the moles
On your skin but force him to begin
With the beauty spot above your lips...


Talk to him of that summer of chickenpox
That left you almost unscathed, but show him
The unbeautiful gash where metal seared eight-year skin...


Tell him the history of your Raphunzel hair
That tickled your shins. And of a cruel world that sapped
You, so your hair cannot reach down to cover your shame...


Press his ears against your skin
And hear him announce—the dance
Is in the bones, the dance is in the blood...


He shall chart and plot
And map, but shrewd girl
Bring him up to worship you...


Allow him to memorize all of you
So that, some day, he shall ravish you
Screaming fiery love-words in your mother-tongue...


He would have
Learnt your lesson, by then...

Poet's Notes about The Poem

(First published in Sweet Magazine, South Africa)

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Poem Edited: Thursday, October 4, 2012

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