Steam, woman, steam.
Like a cup of tea
with tulsi leaves.
Like the glass of milk on a wedding night,
yellow with haldi.
Like hot iron pressed upon a saree.
Like the bubbling, simmering pot of kheer,
the taste of which measures the worth of your existence
while you stand behind a curtain
and watch the men eat greedily.
Steam away woman, steam
Like the choo choo train meant only to carry.
Like hot water that takes off oily sheen
from his clothes and his plates and everything else you clean.
Like the output of a geyser you turn on at 5 every morning
for the man of the house to shower luxuriously.
Like vapor that rises but cannot be seen.
Like the atmosphere in a pressure cooker spurting out screams.
Like the insides of a sauna in which you sit, suffocating,
only so that nothing separates your bones from skin,
to make you fit into his fantasy.
In the bedroom with nothing covering your body,
spreading out your legs like you spread the table for dinner every night,
only for him to satisfy his needs.
In the only hour of the day when you’re allowed to breathe
and that too only to assure him of his masculinity.
Don’t you dare think
you are known for what you hold within.
A world where you’re not supposed to be sexy
will exist in nothing but your dreams.
And if you ever live to see the revolution
make sure until then
you look ‘hot’,
make sure until then,