When I’m home in my apartment again, I step into my pink room, put away the bags of skincare and prescribed medicine, put away the day’s jewelry, change into my Victorian nightgown, and take a seat on my bed facing the corner. I avoid the vanity in front of my bed and see the dollhouse left over from my childhood.
It is the same one I’ve had since I was eight. The dollhouse had five rooms and all of the walls had different pink patterns. The first room at the bottom of the dollhouse was patterned with the delicate image of white swans. The second room next to it was decorated with a pattern of myrtle. The room above had the image of white doves stamped all over the room. The right room next to it was decorated with the cross section of pomegranates. As I grew older, the pomegranates looked like female parts more and more. At the top of the dollhouse, the very final room was an attic with the pattern of women all intersecting at the hip, all looking like they were about to escape. They were in a shade of pink slightly different to the original pink of the dollhouse. If you didn’t look closely, you would not notice the girls trapped in the wall.
The dollhouse was furnished with Elizabethan furniture. Classical brocaded material and gold lining all over the couches, chairs and beds. It also came with a fridge, an oven, sink, a toilet, a bathtub, three beds, bedside tables, a crib, a changing table, a high chair, regular chairs and couches. I would rearrange the rooms all of the time, trying to find the perfect order, but I always kept the room with the trapped women as the master bedroom, for the parents.
The dollhouse did not just come on its own, it came with a doll family. There were four members of the family and a maid. The father was a brown-haired man in a black suit with a red tie and the mother was a paper-white blonde. She had blue eyes and a floral dress on. They came with two children, a toddler and a young girl. The toddler I always assumed was a boy because of his brown hair and brown eyes like the father and the girl was a blue-eyed blonde like her mother. They came with a maid who was tanned-skinned with brown hair and eyes and her clothes dirty. I always kept her in the lower rooms as a child. I found them to be the perfect family.
When my mother gave it to me, she told me, I hope this is how beautiful your own house and family will be one day. I remember her glass eyes as she looked at me. The built-in music box played a little song in the background, the same one it’s playing now. I prayed every single night for a house and family just as beautiful. Now the dollhouse sits in the corner of my room, the wall behind it a purple bruise like the little world of the dolls is constantly setting and bleeding at the same time.
The tender ceiling;
a womb, or a mouth.
It is silent here.
The moon looks in here.
I am different here.
I am silent here.
You’re the common toy,
I was seventeen,
every common dream.
Most romantic thing.
Delicate glass skin,
to big bratty lips.
Small and fidgety,
black as innocence.
The shadow cuts up
your face with a thin
His breath, minty blue, wafts across my pink room.
I tell him something akin to love, and he quiets me
First with the touch of his mouth then his voice,
Something in his voice is rough and unforgiving.
His touch is calloused and gruff,
His lips are so soft and his beard is rugged.
I can tell he takes care of his nails,
And when they dig into my skin, I do not feel pain.
His voice is so deep and right next to my ear,
I feel it in my chest, and when he pushes away,
I feel a million miles’ distance.
I’m alone in my room looking up at the tender ceiling;
Something akin to a womb or the inside of a mouth.
My belly is full of butterflies, each one telling me to run.
It’s silent here; I’m silent here.
I think of you watching, looking at me, and I feel less alone.
The curtain is open, the sky like an eye, looks in.
The next time I see him, the sky is wiped clean,
No blue is in the sky and he is nicer than he has ever been.
The butterflies are there, but my heart and mind are quiet.
I let him talk until the sky turns into a bleeding red,
The night has never looked like this.
To Be His
I think of when I was a child while I lay beside him.
My mother gave me everything I wanted while my father was gone;
it’s such a shame that the biggest things in life have come so easily to me,
now I go to the furthest of lengths for the smallest of things.
There’s an image of a thing in between us and I don’t know what to feel;
politics, logic, a girl, differences, religion, opinions, and so much space.
It’s silent here—where he draws circles on my skin while the moon looks in.
I’m silent here; where not everything is a metaphor,
where poetry only happens in privacy and prose where no one knows.
I’m different here too—cautious, vulnerable, and self-destructive.
I can be what I want to be, and yet the only thing I want is to be his.
I grew up thinking that the moon would always be there,
but now it is gone, and something is wrong.
I made men out of monsters, and boys out of kind men.
It is all my fault, I say this again and again.
I made loneliness out of love, and a friend out of hate.
I made friends with my self-demise, and enemies with silence.
I made love out of want, and distance out of need.
I pushed him away when he said he found love.
It is all my fault, I say this again and again.
Now silence is loud,
It is silent here, and I dread it.
I’m silent here, and I dread it.
It is all my fault; I dread it; I dread it.
Monsters and Loneliness
You’re quiet for too long;
I don’t interject your silence.
I lose sleep as currency,
For time with a pseudo-you.
I thought I could play with men.
I stared at them for too long
Until they turned into gray validation.
You’re the common toy,
And I was just the mirror’s reflection.
I was seventeen. I was seventeen,
Every man’s common dream.
How sad it was for me to learn
How many seventeen year olds there were.
I don’t know how to be; it’s something I’m teaching myself.
I stuck beads on a string, words on a line, read poetry and prose,
and got a bitter man in love with me. I thought about doll-eyes and innocence, monsters and loneliness, I thought about sirens and their calling, I thought about narcotics and tv screens, and then I thought about you. I always come back to you, and the ink on my skin, and the thoughts in my head,
and the loneliness of my bed.
They Call You a Patient
The whole process is so ordinary that from the
start of it before it even happens,
it is like you are preparing to laugh, to swing your feet from yet another bed, to talk to your
friend about the guy on your phone.
You are getting ready for just another day,
another day of makeup,
of sitting pretty in ugly places where sleazy men whisper under their breath
the most romantic things you’ve ever heard.
You go through the motions of it all, like it is just another day.
To the point where even while you’re climbing onto the surgery table,
and the man above you is holding the breathing tube to lull you down
into a wormhole of time, you are still looking around wide-eyed.
To the point where even when you wake up, and a nurse is standing beside you
in a white room you are making pleasantries.
You talk to her like you are just
another pretty girl with a promising future, academic life gleaming bright behind her.
You talk like your face is not stitched up, swollen, morphed.
When they bring you back to your room, you’re watching cartoons
like there is any innocence left.
You do not know how much your heart will hurt
in a few days once the drugs are out of your system
and your mom is not sleeping on a hospital bed beside you.
It is not until you are home, alone,
that you see the new girl in the mirror in fact.
It is not until then that you realize that something has irrevocably changed.
You can’t figure out what it is, because it is more than a body part,
something deeper has changed with it.
You realize that you have killed something that you can never get back,
and your heart hurts like it never did before.
You write the experience like that, like it was a rebirth, like you’ve been reincarnated… but in reality something has died and you’re not sure if something worth keeping has taken its place.
The earth’s light cast a shadow
like the one you’ve left on me;
where I know,
once it has passed
and a month is up
I will never be the same again.
Something has irrevocably changed.
They took away pieces of me,
parts of me that I will never meld back
into the fabric of my skin.
You have cut me open and seen things,
things that I have never seen myself.
Now you know what’s inside of me better than I,
and you’ve taken things that I can never get back.
This is what we have been made into—
into big bratty lips, cut out hopes, and delicate glass skin.
I knew the mirror once but now the face I see hardly looks like me.
The big bright prospects lurch behind me
but they do not swallow me whole anymore.
I see poetry and pink bottles of perfume.
I hear haha‘s and drunk men;
tuxedos and chinaware.
I think thoughts of politics and seduction, I think of you.
I think of that scar on my thigh and when you came into my life.
I think of the beach and your smile that day, the way you loved me.
I think of when it was simple–when it was easy–
when it was not as dark as this.
Yet I sit, looking pretty with my phone in my hand,
looking up at the men crowding this room
and the girls sitting like me, and I do not see hope. This is how it’s meant to be.
those figures stand stalk-still
against the white of the day sky.
fingers spread-wide ready to climb.
black those figures were,
long and thin with endless fingers
like spiders or the tv people.
there was you too, with me,
gray, the only one uncertain.
I was certain for the both of us.
then blacker you got,
as black as a symbol of innocence.
then thinner you got,
thinner and grew to twice my size.
small, and fidgety as always, I sit,
as white as a symbol of innocence.
I did not recognize you
as my shadow deserted me.
now you blend into the
intricate pattern of the figures.
you’ve become another figure in my life,
innocent, like a child
as you thought only of yourself.
The shadow of the arabesque bars cuts up your face in a thin, dark division.
Keeping it together, pieces of a puzzle with a small and thin incision.
You know well how to condense life into black symbiotic symbols,
but you never learned how to enhance it, so you go back, cryptic.
No one has ever understood you, but black, black books and the little narrator
that you take everywhere with you through life, through loneliness.
Thank you so much for reading. This is a little poetry collection I have made. You can find this previously posted on my Instagram as well. I have put a lot of effort in and have a big sweet spot for the poem “Looking Pretty”. This collection was written with the first short story I have posted on my account in mind, “Pretty as a Picture.” Please let me know your thoughts on the poems and which spoke to you. I’d lovee to know your thoughts on this collection. Thank you again for reading!
Twitter & Instagram: Nouranbha
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