Birthday Poem

By Srila Roy

The ones I gave birth to are ten today
The ones who were never meant to be
Impossible, they said, a miracle.
The ones who spent the first month of their lives in exile
Who took only the bottle, not the breast
They look like two rosebuds, she said.
The ones who stayed when he left
Who had to withstand his rage and fear of losing them
And so they lived in his and hers
Mine but also not mine
Always two, never one.
The ones who said, I missed mama at school today
And now say, please and thank you and I didn’t mean it
The ones who are me but never me
Mine and theirs
Are ten today.

Srila Roy is a professor in sociology at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, where she teaches and researches gender and sexuality in the Global South. Her latest book is Changing the Subject: Feminist and Queer Politics in Neoliberal India.

Subscribe to our newsletter To Recieve Updates

    The Latest
    • An interview with the Editors of Poetry at Sangam

      Taking down Poetry at Sangam must have generated a plethora of flashbacks of

    • The Usawa Newsletter February ‘24

      How JLF helped me with my undiagnosed dyslexia and ADHD In the bustling city of

    • Artists’ representation of the human body by Ruchika Juneja

      the years of growing up were spent in finding ways to belong and belonging in

    • Preface to Mumbai Traps by Anju Makhija

      the years of growing up were spent in finding ways to belong and belonging in

    You May Also Like
    • Smita Sahay Editor-in-Chief

      We dedicate issue #9 of the Usawa Literary Review curated around the theme of

    • “The Last Horse Cart”, a short story by S Ramakrishnan, translated from the Tamil by R Sathish

      Sermadurai quietly pushed the big iron gate of Kannayiram’s house and peeped in

    • Four Poems By Aranya

      Searching… google knows what I did last summer, the fragrance of my soap

    • Lessons by Geetha Nair

      It had seemed like any other Saturday when she had woken up