May 3, 2016 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION


Tanushree Ghosh






My face dissolved in the fluid of your spite, my skin shriveled in the fire of your rage,

As I crouched I had wondered for a moment, could you really be inflicting such pain?


I had laid in bed, I had tried to sit up; I had walked at last, past the mirrors

Don’t look, they said out of care, as I saw them turn to hide the heartache


Looks doesn’t matter, only the heart does. You will live, they said

As if that mattered anymore, as if they believed what they said


The reminders of the ‘I’ that ‘was’: my clothes in the closet, pictures in frame

The bangles won’t fit anymore and there’s no space for a bindi on a shriveled face


Should I live? Do I have the choice? They say it’s a sin, think of others they say

A daughter and a sister and so much more. I need to stay alive, and fight to make you pay


As I walk past, people stop. Aghast and afraid of what I have become

I am learning to face the world without a face left, struggling to understand who I am


Should I have known? Was I at fault?

Maybe I should have stayed quiet, or obliged, you had wanted only love after all


Time heals all, they say. Please make them right, I pray

Remove the scars, take away the pain; give me another chance – to be a woman again


And then one day – I find myself. In the mirror left uncovered by mistake

The acid couldn’t reach my heart, I realize and slowly, I stand up straight


It’s not a choice to not live, it isn’t fair that I have to fight

But when I see my face, I don’t see what you see. I see what you couldn’t get!


Love is not what you wanted, love is not what you deserve

But you freed me from the clutches of vanity. And my beauty? It’s now sheltered in my heart.









A girl called Anna




Her polyester back shining

As my nails would soon

Is not Anna


Moments of rejoicing bought with money

Sounds of the fountain, blue UV lights

Pages of magazines and brief respite

Not hers, just mine



Her break yet to come

Only if no one else walks-in

A whiff of the cigarette saved unfinished

And smells of thrown out food

Leaning on the trash bins seeking reprieve

She is not Anna


10% should really be enough

For a massage not so good

For a service not willing

For a corner left chipped, for nails not filed

For English not so good

For – she – who is not Anna


Yet she flashes a smile

And hands me a card

If you like it, come back

Ask for me – I am Anna


Her changed identity

For my convenience

It’s easier this way for me to remember her name

For me

She is now Anna










Tanushree Ghosh

Tanushree Ghosh works in Supply Chain Management in the Tech industry (she has a Ph.D in Chemistry from Cornell University and has worked at the Brookhaven National Laboratories) and is an author and activist in her spare time. She is a blogger for the Huffington Post and has published in several literary magazines and blogs. Her first anthology was selected into Oprah’s reading list 2.0 and her first single author manuscript is currently with her agent: Jennifer Lyons. She is also the founder of HerRights: a non profit working to catalyze action against gender violence. For more on her visit: www.thoughtsandrights.com.


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