Vulgar-Priyanka Sutaria

Illustration by Sukanya Roy

this body

needs metaphors

to love itself

my ego feeds off allegorical conditioning

so that the skin I wear

does not feel

like a bad fit, stretched

uncomfortably across my skeleton

like the ones in my back closet

which whisper similes

and similar inspiration

into my shelves at midnight


I need to call my stretch marks

tiger pelt

so that living with them

doesn’t feel all that difficult anymore

I need to call my hands curious

so that I don’t feel filthy

when I search your body

in the hope that verses will fall out

like spare change

from an old pair of jeans

(I need to call my vagina

the ocean just so that I may be sure

of the power it holds within its folds

each time someone tells me

to grow a pair )

I need to call these feet wanderers

so that their searching gaze

doesn’t haunt those

who cannot fathom walking away

from something you love

when it starts to hurt you


I forget when I started to care

about lending my body as a vehicle

to the project of morality

or the happiness of others

the blood that flows through my veins

is B+ and it stands for body positive

I will not cower

behind imagined normatives

or narratives which exploit this body

for the sake of maintaining a standard

I am not the whim of a regulator and

I am not the only one

we are an army of women,

liberated females

ready to reclaim our own bodies,

ready to question your opinions.

we are waiting for the day

we get to take from those in power

our rights

which we will not hesitate then

to ask for.

our voices are political

our bodies are weapons

and our movement will crash

against the wall of patriarchy in waves


the other day

someone asked me

whether a boy talking at length

about his penis in a poem

would make him vulgar

and I tell them

that anything can be made tasteful

if you know what I mean

and we both laugh, because humor

is another way to make your body

more comfortable with itself,

but inside me, inside this flesh-cage

which needs analogies to love itself

I wonder

what it is about our bodies

that makes conversations about

them vulgar anyway

Priyanka likes to think of herself as a poet who is trying to figure out how to be human. She enjoys feminist theory, literary criticism, and good coffee.