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I'm just Melanin—Innocent, tranquil, harmless

Three Poems by Anjali Suroshe


Beyond the tapestries of conviction,

I'm the farmlands of courage,

For I've survived many hurricanes like you

To the eyes of museum visitors,

I'm the earthen artefact,

A fragment of this land


Beyond the cultural norms,

I'm made up of red signals of fate

And black holes of misery,

When the sun casts light on the east

The western shadow engulfs

My very existence with scorching agony

But never are my bare arms and waist


I'm an unwanted child of society,

Forced to be insignificant from the beginning

A mockery of nature,

The soft target of narcissists,

The salvation of the exiles,

Beyond the beauty standards,

Beyond cruelty lurking in mass approval

I'm just an heirloom,

Belonging to people of colour,

A skin cinnamon, a golden sheen

Star anise, a flavour of the indigenous

Beyond the eyes colourist,

I'm just Melanin

Innocent, tranquil, harmless.


My femininity is the aisle of the temple,

Leading your feet to

The celestial divinity of

The Womanhood.

I'm not an idol

Consecrated by the society,

I live outside the sanctum

Roam on the mundane streets,

In my tank top and torn jeans

I change vibes

With my outfits

Like the shadow of my youth

The misogyny gropes me,

Hysterically I laugh as it claims,

How the devil would've worshipped me

If I would've behaved like the Goddess

It loves to fantasize.

All dressed up in pink,

flowers and perfumes

My feminity is a doll,

Who carries a sword,

Without replacing it

With the shoulder bag

I'm not gullible if I am girly,

If I love silver earrings,

In my heels, I walk on the piano tiles

Rhythmic and rebellious

Like the black widow venomous.

My smile, my curves

Still sensual

My feminity is the obscure mist

It settles on both

the sidewalks and the tall buildings,

Why should disown it?

If you only find me powerful

When I'm behaving like a man

Then watch me,

Cherishing my individuality,

Cause even in the skirt

I can fight back!

Autumn by Anjali Suroshe

The wind is Midas these days

Every leaf he has touched is gold,

Heavy with the burden of privilege

Homeless heart stares at his crumbled paradise

Numb, neglected, nauseous

Self lies inside me,

Nestled in the arms of slumber

Pain is lost in some dream

Missing or misleading — either way.

I am ready to escape

on the wind too,

Yet there's something

Which even wind can't carry

As heavy as my detached heart,

As light as these golden leaves,

Forevermore my soul's yearning,

— Happiness.


Reminiscing the times,

when I used to be a stream

Strait, dainty and noisy

My agile heart used to

babble with the stones

At the meanders

When the only aim of

my shallow world

was to survive the sunburns-

I wanted to exist!

I kept flowing,

Miles passed

and I became a river

Two-faced and ambiguous

Elegant, steady yet gullible

Struggling between the dams,

Carrying fish of ambitions,

I took another turn and,

Horizontal became vertical,

My life became a downfall,

But I met the stones again

Who called me

a beautiful waterfall,

I survived!

Miles passed

and I became a sea,

Full of wisdom, alive and free,

I am vast and deep,

Everything I ever wanted to be

My voyage has finally ceased,

And I have managed to exist.

Miles stopped to pass

My skin is still and calm,

I look for the stones

but they all have gone.

The seashore is mine yet

only waves can reach there,

I try to escape but

My existence is lost somewhere,

My world is so large yet

I feel lonely,

So many stories to tell but

no one to listen remotely

So I ask myself,

Is this how I wanted to exist?

Perhaps, I miss that innocence

I left miles behind,

When the stream inside me was

worried about its scarcely faded

existence in summer draughts...

Because right now,

I'm the sea,

But can you find that

stream inside me?


Anjali Suroshe

Anjali Suroshe is an Architect and Poet from Mumbai, India. She loves to write about social issues, trauma, and melancholic state of mind. Her poems have previously been featured in an anthology and multiple college magazines.

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