Two Poems


I wipe down the mirror with a smile

And leave a stranger frowning in its place

You look at me and wonder

At the fear and how I cower

You feel pity, privileged in your power

But if you insist, then you should know

Before I was beaten, I was proud

Head held high holding hopes

A smile that sang silent symphonies

Before this silence, I was loud

Harsh and hoarse, laughing sounds

Half forgotten mumbled songs

Before this cold, I held warmth

Love and lust hand in hand

Now fear and fury, a trembling husk

Before you, I was me

Someone who was loud and proud

with a heart so warm and eyes so wide

Now you look at me with wonder

At this thing you broke and tried to fix

Still secure enough to feel pity and distanced enough to forget this soon.

The cracks are showing and this facade is crumbling

But I still wipe the mirror down

And I wipe away the smile on its face


Before you defined me, I was someone

Before stuck your labels and pushed me into a box in the name of giving me identity

Before this box-ticking exercise, this show so you can feel proud, this facade of understanding, this display of power in the name of pity, this genuflection to further your assumption, to see me as other than someone of power, this expectation of gratitude for you being okay with my revolution, for you being okay with me daring to be me, for you being okay with me having my say, I was me.

After you defined me, I'm still me

I'm still expansive, I'm still revolutionary, I still have my say and I don't care if you are okay.

Who I am is rooted in me and my identity is not relative to yours. I am more than your assumptions and what you are willing to see, more than your pity project or your feel-good charity. I don't need your permission to be me and when you try to box me, I still break free.

About the Author

Inosh is a writer and student from Sri Lanka. When they are not drowning in their academic drama, they draft novels around characters who live and thrive in worlds that reject them. Find them @morallygrey lost on Twitter for writing updates.