Just because I am quiet
written by: Ipsita Banerjee
My father was forged with fire,
if he saw injustice he fought it through
he walked on burning coals and argued for causes
by the time it was passed to me the fire had quietened.
I do not rage against dark nights
my nature is more amenable, even selfish
I like to stay out of fights
to each his own, live and let live.
But let that not blind you
to the darkened rage that burns
when I read about the girls
touched and cast aside like rag dolls
when day after day after day
young and old women are raped
when I listen to the wimps in denial
twisting words, playing the same blame games.
I can remember too easily the safety pin
that I used on crowded buses, the duck walk on the streets
they did not keep me unmolested
nothing kept us safe from those prying hands
prying hands that made us feel dirty
prying hands that disappeared in the crowd
even as we stood stunned into shame and silence
and brothers, fathers asked us what was wrong.
I too am afraid, I too rage, my blood boils
my heartbeat threatens to burst from my veins
and shatter into a million pieces
as I wait, wait for a chance to be the change
to bear the torch, to carry the flame
to somehow protect these women, these girls, these children
our daughters, our nieces, our friends
our own selves from these vile hands and minds.
Do not make the mistake of judging me
or think that I am weak
Do not once think I will not fight back
or that you have my consent.
For the blood that flows in me was forged of fire
and a single spark can bring down forests
lay waste to your sterile house and gardens.
Do not think I sit quietly just because I am quiet.