These are the hands that wear the bangles.
On these hands does henna blossom.
These are the hands that etch the rangoli.
On these hands are small scars, burn marks from hot griddles upon which these hands roast rotis, mementos of passionate nights when bangles clinked and broke.
These are the hands held up in prayer as they hope for a miracle.
And these are the hands that soothe and caress and hold.
These hands they clutch at other small, feeble hands, as these feet on which anklets tinkle march together.
These bangles and anklets and petticoats and burqas and other such small soft inconsequential things are slander for the powerful.
Wear bangles and sit at home.
Have you ever known bangles that sat still? Didn’t sing? That didn’t play a drumroll of a future, of hope, of promises to be fulfilled,
As the hands that wear them serve and scold, heft and stir, wash and polish, sweep and swab, sew and renew, unbutton and nurse, bear and raise.
Do not insult these hands that wear bangles.
Upon them you are held.