When I was a little girl
I saw a picture of my parents' wedding
Ammi looked like a goddess in her red dupatta
Next to a man who already believed himself to be her god.
I'd never seen a woman more beautiful
Cheek bones higher than my ambitions
Resilience shinning in her eyes
And a smile filled with uncertainty and hope.
I wanted to be just like her
Already had her eyes and her smile
So I got a nose piercing to go with
And asked her for the dupatta ever since I was a child.
Now all that was left was an entitled man
Who's arm I could reach out for but never hold
So of course I got one to match
The similarities almost uncanny
Anger that shot first and asked questions later
Joy that made sadness feel unheard
Love that always showed up with guilt as its plus one
And compassion with conditions applied.
Suddenly, I'm scared I will become my mother
Her frown sagging lower than my standards
The resilience drained from her eyes
And her smile filled with resignation and heartbreak.
Maybe we all become our mothers
Or maybe I'm just paranoid
Maybe he just looks a lot like my father
Maybe he feels a lot like validation.
Sometimes I think I'm a little too harsh on him
Maybe it's translated self-hatred for missing all the warning signs
But when you're looking though the ghunghat of your mother's red dupatta
The red flags don't look all that alarming.