Nine Years Old By Disha Ahluwalia

Nine Years Old

You are nine years old with sand in your hair
and a heart so full of innocence
when your friends point at you,
whisper ‘lesbian’ and burst into laughter-

and you don’t know what it means so
you laugh along, muttering ‘lesbian’
in between your giggles,
as though it’s a swear word.

when the dictionary tells you that it means
a woman who loves women, you scowl
because you’ve never been this confused.
why would your friends laugh at you

for being in love with women?
isn’t love the weapon that ends
all wars before they begin?

and so you ask your mama, just to be sure,
and she holds your arms and looks you
in the eyes, and she says, “darling, god
will never forgive lesbians.

they should be ashamed of themselves.”
and your scowl turns into a frown,
because you’re not sure you can love
a God that doesn’t love the idea of love.

because at nine years old, love is
pure and guileless and naive. love is
no more than holding hands and tucking
her hair behind her ears and love is

never saying no when she wants to play
or wants help with homework.
yet, at nine years old,
love is everything,

and you can never fathom why
loving women is wrong,
when your older sister is nagged
about not having a boyfriend.

when your mama notices your silence,
she asks you what’s wrong,
and you scrape out that frown and
replace it with a worried smile,

and you tell her it’s nothing,
and you scrape out the word that
felt like home to you, because
no one wants to be dissed.

and at nine years old, you are taught
to be ashamed of yourself.

By Disha Ahluwalia


Disha Ahluwalia is a sixteen year old Indian writer settled in the Middle East. Her heart has a wild case of wanderlust and she wants to travel all seven continents to take pictures of the sunset. When she’s not busy procrastinating over cat videos or overrated TV shows, she can be found in the nook of her room spilling out ink. She has been writer for as long as she can remember and has previously been published in literary journals like Germ Magazine. More of her work can be found here:

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