Excerpts from a study guide
Teach him not to seek
by Meena Kandasamy
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 Maari 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. . .