My Room


Lalitha Gouri

It is four-walled, my room.

A window sealed with glass

closed in with space

defined by brick and lime.

A room, not distinctive

like any other you can find

in a suburban house

sitting pretty on a tree-lined street.


There was a time when the walls were real,

separating my room from all else in the house.

Walls enclosed a space for me to dream

they sliced the house to give me respite.


And the door: the door was the most charming bit,

like a magician’s wand, it made fairies appear.

Every time it closes, the room lights up

and all my companions glide out quietly –

from behind the gossamer curtains and the old sofa

with the flower design they emerge

cautious and watchful,

around the lampshade and out of the shelves they fly

with slow flapping wings that softly make music.


And they do something

that none other in the house did:

they speak to me

in a language I know.

We settle into spaces

wall-less and abundant

open to the sky and fields

into sunshine and rainy days.


In that boundless space

of no rules and dictates

I spread my hair and whistle a tune

shed my clothes and stretch my arms

I am neither woman nor man

nor is my unbranded skin

dark, wheatish or brown,

nor am I fat or slim, beautiful or plain


Neither elite nor middle-class or poor,

not urban or rural, simpleton or smart,

neither silent nor eloquent

with nothing to be adored or despised.


As I dance on shells and moults

with fairies who sing my language

I look in the mirror on the wall

and see not the fairest of them all

but me, who does not belong to walls anymore.


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