My parents say I was a pretty baby
People had turned back and stared
Praised them for making;
A beautiful baby girl

Soon School turned the praise to taunts
And Home turned the taunts to cracks
I get the smell of zinc
a familiar metallic taste

The blood dries on a crumpled tissue
I drop the blade I used.
I carry abandoned cities in my ribs
Abused borders on my thighs

I look at myself in the mirror
I’ve turned my face into a riot
My hands are a civil war
In between my knuckles are small colonies
As rich in culture that castes me out

I hold myself at night as I rock myself to sleep
Telling myself no man will love me.
After all, what man wants to lie in bed and watch the entire world burn
Not even will my own father
Look in the eye of his once-praised baby girl.

Rtr. Akindu Leelaratne

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