How to be a woman? – Megha Sood

There are rules to be followed
guidelines to be remembered
regulations to be followed
to the T.

before I can call myself a woman
a lady like appearance–
an ever-present grin on my face
smiling from ear to ear,
just to ease you into the life
as you please.

I should bow down in obedience
should never raise my voice
walk with the stoop of discipline
and eat with your hand.
With the freedom, you have handed me on the plate
Like I was the chosen one, you see

Oh! that skirt is a little shorter than we expected
see it clearly fails to keep those lurking demon
inside their skin.
Now, you have shown them
too much flesh
now they will come out
will rip you into shreds
and devour your soul from within.

“I told you” they will say
keep your voice down
the patriarchy can’t handle you pitch
they are tone-deaf to your songs of freedom
every war cry of yours
is not more than a mere screech

Give in to the fear of those jackals
those protectors lurking in the dark
they are the guardians,
the unabashed kings
of this society.

So next time the world tries to
teach me how to be a women
/an epitome of grace and elegance/
they should come and witness the scars
I bore on my body.

and the glow I carry
which can put their
thousand suns to shame
a sight their shameful eyes
can’t bear to see.

Megha Sood lives in Jersey City, New Jersey. She is a contributing member at Free Verse Revolution, Heretics, Lovers and Madmen, Sudden Denouement, Whisper and the Roar, GoDogGoCafe and Poetry editor at Ariel Chart. Over 300+ works in journals including Better than Starbucks, FIVE:2: ONE, KOAN, Kissing Dynamite, Mojave Heart Review, Adelaide, Foliate Oak. Visitant Lit, Quail Bell, Dime show review, etc. and works featured/upcoming in 20 other print anthologies by the US, Australian, and Canadian Press. Two-time State-level winner of the NAMI ( National Alliance on Mental Illness) NJ Poetry Contest 2018/2019.National level poetry finalist in Poetry Matters Prize 2019. Poetry selected multiple times for Genre Night reading by Jersey City Writers group and events sponsored by the Department of Cultural Affairs. She blogs at and tweets at @meghasood16.

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