We hide our wet lace behind a trellis of plants, our voices honeyed from jaded soap operas.
Our requiems are parties inside our heads, earphone to earphone.
Tolerance in the diorama of this rented place.
No door of solace or shame left open.
They will keep boyfriends. And.
They will come with trouble. And.
They will eat meat. And.
But sometimes we translate into vixens: late night-girls with eye masks,
returning on the stairs – shush! the landlord is insomniac
to stilettoes and side slits of little black dresses,
books, menstrual cups, and spandex.
Who will take responsibility for them? And.
Emerald nights pass into agate mornings,
the sapphire of our head scarves and prayer mats
from insular to secular near our 2 by 2 boxes.
We curl each night against thoughts of saffron eyes, bloodshot.
If the nights fall over our skin, our bodies become bottles
of wine, with a crack against it. Dripping… dripping…
They will get raped. And.
Wooden cages with wooden birds flapping to horizons,
we scrape air like parchment,
peeling secrets from walls of adopted jailhouses.
They will grow wings. And.
Serpentine winds belching histories of women
who left when they heard the bricks squeaking,
Shush! And not again! And please behave yourselves.
But we play safe in dog-chewed chappals, our cycle tyres gripping
the road's ruggedness
as alleyways sugar-lip the broken sky
of old whispering neighbors.
All this for only one proper peg to place the key
of our russet city-freedoms.
They will wear short skirts. And.
An alumna of Iowa's International Writing Program and Charles Wallace writer's fellowship, Stirling, Rochelle Potkar is a widely anthologized writer and the winner of the 2016 Open Road Review story contest for The Leaves of the Deodar. She is currently editing a book of Goan poetry to be translated to Irish Gaelic, and on Joseph Furtado's manuscript of prose and poetry.