Saheem Haris | Participant 10

As far as my memory goes

my happiest days

were on that see-saw

painted violet, around my pre-school buddies

taking our turns

lifting each other up.


Then came the day

I cried to sleep the very first time

'boys don't need bangles'

shouted my mom,

but I still have them

in my box of the past

indigo coloured

with glitters of gold.


Every time I went to school

I remained lonely

like a refugee in a foreign land

the odd one out,

solitude got the best of me

and I gave in.

Thats when I got this role

in a small school play

as a maiden

flaunting her blue gown

holding a basket full of love and roses.

For the very first time

I felt like myself,

I felt so alive

my insides screaming at the world watching

'This is who I wanna be'.


Still tied down

by the chains of solitude,

my high school years coursed by

confused about my identity

an anomaly of creation

a curse and a taboo.

Each day waking up as someone else

my lean body

drooping like a question mark asking myself

'Am I a man or a woman?'.

But with all the nickels i gathered

and grandma’s pitching in

bought those bright green heels