Corsets and Heels – Tehmina Khan

stilettos
stilts – water birds wading
spike heels
wedge heels
short achilles
stutter step
stumble
stop
falling
sprain

tight bodice laced up
breasts squeezed upwards
woman as hourglass
sifting sand
through squished lungs
I can’t breathe
falling
faint

squeeze into
skinny jeans
smaller than
size six
calf muscles
constricted

tight tank top
underwire
plunge
D-cup push up
modesty panels
hide nipples
show cleavage

eat less
self-control
disappear
whisper
lightheaded
what was I saying?
falling
shame

loose shalwar
boxy kurta
tell the tailor
cut it loose
belly jiggling
free underneath
silk embroidered sleeves
catch sunlight
wind blown scarf shimmers
feet firm
running
away

eat more
savor spicy
deliciousness so hot
please
take more
take space
nourish self
feed others
speak
with full mouth
full body

Do not put me on display.

Tehmina Khan
Tehmina Khan has taught science to preschoolers and citizenship to octogenarians. She teaches English and Poetry for the People at CCSF. You might find her riding her bike on foggy San Francisco days. A keen listener, she strives to learn new words in hybrid languages. Her work has been published in Forum, Written Here, OccuPoetry, and PoetsEleven. Tehmina lives with her husband and teenage son in San Francisco and keeps close to extended family around the bay.

Aging Poppy
Photography
Gayle Markow

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