The Four Walls

The four walls

We women construct our worlds,
she said.
My eyes widened. I’m listening.
You know.
Within the four walls.
We women construct our worlds.

A girl is taught.
She is made to. She is asked to.
She is reminded. She is cajoled.
She is coerced.

They give her the materials.
Instructions with control,
Guidance with glares,
Direction, with dismay.
Expectations with a cane.

I unlearnt in their world.
Within the four walls.
First, I knocked down my dreams.
Then I pricked my rainbow balloons.

I learnt to stuff things
In a trash bin.
My laughter, my singing voice.
My artistic sense. My glow.
My cheerfulness. My speech.

Reading the word is
reading the world?
I learnt a new language,
The language of silence.
I lived the Space within.
I lived between the worlds.
Within the Interface.
They built my world.
I constructed my own.

Of vibrant silences,
Of imagination,
Of empathy, of acceptance.
I unlearnt. I re-learnt.
Of being my Self.
For my daughters.

Vinathe Sharma
August, 2006; Wollongong


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