'I want' (artwork by Sonali Pattnaik)
colour pastels and charcoal on paper. artwork by Sonali Pattnaik

I want to walk
my hands swinging
long and free
if these roads were not
cobbled eyes
but spun trees
flowers would become
fences or paths at my feet

I want to suspend thought
wear old jeans
pull that thorn out
of her cracked feet
an inside out shirt
no buttons, no seams

I want to walk beside
my daughter
that old woman there
with a heart as young
as a seed
I want to walk with them
and alone, free, feet
heart thumping feet
into forests of unknown deep
I want to pause
and whisper all your wrong
towards me and then blow
them away on a withered leaf

I want to lie down
my hands beside me
streaming women dreams
unhatched and nurtured
by my dancing veins
I want to go as far as
the light of my dreams can see

I don’t want to hear
about skin any more
about lengths of noses
or where hair ought to grow
in the wild honeyed forest
my humanity keeps
I only want to feel skin
on me, as me, in me,

I want to play for you
the chords of my bones
strung upon my heart’s
messy structure
do you promise to hear
or will you decipher?

I want to beat to the rhythm
of my fatigue and not treat it
I want to walk with my hands
swinging large and free
laughing at the artist
who made limbs where
wings ought to have been.

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