Indian writer and poet Sonali Sharma wrote ‘The Mustard Petticoat’ – a poem about period myths in India, where girls and women sometimes are sent off to period huts during their menstruation. ‘We walk barefoot to the hut, why?’
– BY SONALI SHARMA –
Leave in the lurch,
The mustard pants,
Affixed to overgrown buttons.
Don’t come within reach,
Make them squeaky clean,
Unexpected steam bath if any,
Bake house doesn’t get to grips with,
These days, unlike salad days,
Darting roasted bread,
Salted home-made butter,
We slurp in league,
After men cram down delights, chiefly.
It may grieve per diem,
Pronto, entailing change oft-times,
Circumspect your newfangled domicile,
When gain access to,
May be arthropods enshrouding,
Under the mat, of pink straw.
Carry the broom, clothing stock,
Your plastic comb, no bracelet,
We walk barefoot to the hut, why?
To get rid off bad may come,
Following us, a little self-immolation,
We perform as young girls.
With this I leave you for a week,
At your own,
The mustard petticoat with fringes,
Hanged around, on tap,
Turned red, the water,
In the steel tub,
For the last time!
About the author
Sonali Sharma is from Dehradun, the capital city in the Indian state Uttarakhand. She’s a postgraduate in environmental studies from Panjab University Chandigarh in India. She is also a frequently published poet and writer. Her poems have appeared in the Indian Periodical, Indian Ruminations, Indus Woman Writing, The International Human Rights Art Festival (New York City), The Kali Project: Indian Women’s Voices (USA), Femasia (UK) and Our Poetry Archive (USA). You can follow Sonali on Facebook and Instagram.
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Need some inspiration?
Menstrual education for toddlers, because why not?, by Yayeri van Baarsen
Let’s teach everyone about menstruation, by Maggie di Sanza
Not so divine secrets of the Bullwinkle Sisterhood, by Mary Novaria
A ritual for mothers and daughters, by Tessa Custers
A time for celebration, by Robyn Jones
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Portrait: Sonali Sharma. Photo above: Eddie Kopp via Unsplash.