Who Am I

That’s the lady I want you to be
Momma whispers into my ears
I take a step back and turn away
That’s never going to happen
I say
But momma insists
She never fails to push
Papa doesn’t care
The sister tries harder
I leave for school and I see her again
I can’t smile
A girl calls my name
Another mocks it out loud
Look at her colour, they say
But I look at theirs
I tear and run away
Momma whips out my favourite tea
She says it’s only going to get better this time
If I became that lady
But that’s not going to work
I repeat myself
And that state of mind
Brings about a repeated wave of torture each day
But today I stand firm
And look at them in the eye
I’m beautiful too, I yell
I’ll be that lady
I promise in front of them
They stand there confused
I leave with a smile
Momma is surprised
I hug her tight
I’ll be that lady you said momma
She wipes away a tear
And pulls me in front of the dressing mirror
Yes momma
I’ll be that lady
I say
Pointing at my reflection
My newfound confidence made me grin again
When I adjusted my hair for the first time
In front of the reflective glass door I pass by each day
The girls come by
I give a confident glare
They look down and walk away
I breathe with pride

Who am I
People ask me now
I tell them
I’m just being the girl in the mirror
Why don’t you?

– Parveen Maghera


4 thoughts on “Who Am I

  1. Shravishtha Ajaykumar says:

    I love your writing style, usually I’m not a huge fan of POV or its close relatives, but the passion you write with oozes through! Looking forward to reading more!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is absolutely, stupendously beautiful.

    I always love poems with a final line that stings sharply. Perfect!

    The subject reminds me of Parminder from The Casual Vacancy. Do you happen to be part of the Punjabi British diaspora? Just wondering.

    Liked by 1 person

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