Nice girl heartache

heart keeps thumping once it breaks

So many times I’ve told my heart:
it really isn’t appropriate
to keep on going like this, I say.

Achha nahin lagta,* I hiss.
So gauche, so tacky, pushy, poor
in dignity
Nice girls do not.
Nice girls, they fade off silently.
Nice girls’ hearts wave small white flags.
Their lives keep time with broken hearts
and break, so that they do not have
to do the painful walk of shame.

Mine was never a nice girl’s heart.
Broke, broke, and broke, and broke again.
Lay shattered on the doorstep while
guests’ boots scrunched over it all.
“What a racket,” they said, “my heavens,
what a mess.” I shrank and tried
to pretend it wasn’t mine at all.

My heart’s like some sharp-eye steel-wrist
brown-skinned girl who moved at night
from village to village to town,
suddenly
mud-hut to slums to dull brick-lined
servant-quarters in the bungalow.

-January 21, 2007

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