The World Constantly Wants to Teach Me How to Be a Woman By Sneha Subramanian Kanta

The World Constantly Wants to Teach Me How to Be a Woman

Before I memorize the world they teach
me to be in accordance with their silence
somehow & I’d rather prefer a world full
of paper boats & violet lilacs & red tulips
but I’m taught what it is to be a woman
than learn or birth a trajectory & last time
I was in the mall I was told that X size
won’t fit me, not without a grin & that’s
the way of the world in which it hits you
by the elbow & grabs your neck while
your esophagus sends signals to your brain
as if an emergency calls forth—is what
goes on in my mind & there are swarms
of bees outside this mall that seem freer
than the shackles here & Woolf once
thought of being locked outside & knew
being locked in was worse & the narrative
clinks like light bulbs of a store saying—
this is what it means to be a woman
the first lesson usually involves the practice
of speaking less & smiling more—cut my
tongue, burn it, turn it to flakes of ashes
the second is you must stand behind a man
& the third is that if you are alone you are
vulnerable & I want to yield to this night
& its rhythm & stare into the emptiness
like a shipwreck that builds its way into
dawn before the world feeds me another
poisoned potion in a cup & I scream into
the emptiness as wildflowers at night
& cut through the barbaric with my teeth
& though the world wants to constantly
teach me how to be a woman I drown
its throttle into the emptiness of sky & sea.

By Sneha Subramanian Kanta


Sneha Subramanian Kanta is a GREAT scholarship awardee, and has earned a second postgraduate degree in literature from England. Her chapbook titled ‘Home is Hyperbole’ won the Boston Uncommon Chapbook Series (Boston Accent Lit). She is the author of Synecdoche (The Poetry Annals) and Prosopopoeia (Ghost City Press). She is the founding editor of Parentheses Journal. An old soul, she runs a patisserie.

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