At noon, I rode the subway

With my cat in my bag,

Taunting strangers approached uninvited

When ignored, called me a hag.


They laughed a mocking tone

While seething anger burnt my throat

Powerless, I sat tight despairing,

Even as they continued to gloat.


Why was I taught to be

Quiet and feverishly meek?

Why did I have to cower and hide?

It was they who of cowardice reeked.


Why was I taught to question

My own self first, the way I sat,

And gather my skirts, and comfort

The mewling heard from my bag?


Why was I taught to laugh

But never too loud?

Couldn’t I have taunted back

Would they have dared to turn around?


Why was I told never to fight?

That it was good to pretend

To be weak and in need of help?

Whose ego is it waxing in the end?


Why do I have to watch everything?

Am I in prison – How I eat,

And where I sleep, where I go

And when I go, and who I see?


Would you rather I be invisible?

Shrink and shrink into myself

Like a spider’s legs as it dies

Help you feel better about yourself?

About the Author


Sreesha Divakaran believes writing is a journey, an education, a cathartic release, and a hundred other lives all rolled into one. She started writing at a young age and later began to share her stories on her blog, She has published two poetry collections and her short stories have been published in several anthologies. She dreams of being curled up under a blanket and hibernating for a good six months, but life always has other plans!