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Secret Lives [#Poetry]

Posted: September 16, 2016
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What does it mean to be a woman in this world? Is it something to be ashamed of, or something to glory in?

She never hangs her lingerie on the clothesline.

She was told women are supposed to keep their undergarments

away from the public eye.


She never stores tampons and pads in places

easily visible.

She hides them

in the darkest possible plastic bags.


She never gets up

without asking one of her friends:

Peeche theek hai na? 

Because heaven forbid if anyone finds out

she is on her periods.


Living her life as though

she is a member of some secret society,

she secretly wonders

if it is shame

that defines womanhood;

if to be a woman means

something to be ashamed of;


if to be a woman

means to be dirty;

like the dirty laundry

that stays hidden in the closet,

quietly stashed away;

like those used, bloody tampons

that stay hidden sitting in the trash.


If to be a woman

is to be dirty,

then I don’t want the dirt

to ever wash away.

Let the stench of this dirt

choke you

a little.

This poem first appeared in Secrets & Dreams Anthology, Kind of a Hurricane Press, U.S.

Image source: shutterstock

Prerna Bakshi

Prerna Bakshi

Prerna Bakshi is a writer, poet and activist, whose work has been widely published and anthologized and nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her political essays have been published in The Hindu, The Huffington Post, Countercurrents, India Resists, Amar Ujala and Deshbandhu, among others. She is the author of the recently released full-length poetry collection, 'Burnt Rotis, With Love', which was long-listed for the 2015 Erbacce-Press Poetry Award in the UK, and cited as one of the '9 Poetry Collections That Will Change The Way You See The World' by Bustle in the U.S. The book is available for purchase from – For more information:

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