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MEENA KANDASAMY
excerpts from a study guide

Teach him not to seek
Where he has been taught to find...

***

Lead him into the land
Of silences-Ignore his words of praise
Where all the perfidy hides...

***

Because the climax of a dream
Is its return to reality, let him cling
To your laughter, to your eyes that shine of light...

***

Make him study the gilt of gold
Against the wan brown of your skin but let him choose...

***

Exhibit your flawless arms
Dearest child of 1984-no vaccination mark
Nothing to remind him of his village goddess or small pox...

***

Lead him to count the moles
On your skin but force him to begin
With the beauty spot above your lips...

***

Talk to him of that summer of chickenpox
That left you almost unscathed, but show him
The unbeautiful gash where metal seared eight-year skin...

***

Tell him the history of your Raphunzel hair
That tickled your shins. And of a cruel world that sapped
You, so your hair cannot reach down to cover your shame...

***

Press his ears against your skin
And hear him announce-the dance
Is in the bones, the dance is in the blood...

***

He shall chart and plot
And map, but shrewd girl
Bring him up to worship you...

***

Allow him to memorize all of you
So that, some day, he shall ravish you
Screaming fiery love-words in your mother-tongue...

***

He would have
Learnt your lesson, by then...