Three Poems by Preeti Vangani

by Leslie Anne Mcilroy

Crime Scene Portrait (Badaun, Uttar Pradesh, 2014)

                                                                       Girl(1)           Her sister(2)                                                                                                                       hung             hung
                                                                 from mango

v i l l a g e r s (4) 
                                                                                          TV CAMERAS(5)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                and me(6)


(1) she held tight her insides until it was a safe hour to hunt
for a spot to defecate
(2) left home with her source of self-defense, stood watching
(3) like silent scenery, used here as symbol of strength. If only rapists knew semiotics
(4) they’d know they are a useless background. Floating bodies
(5) indecent images packaged into pixels in between lingerie commercials
(6) in a faraway land a girl desensitized, hanging on to nothing makes headlines for tomorrow 



Parental advice

for your own good

for your own good

for your own good

for your own good

for your own good

for your own good

for your own good

for your own good

for your own good

for your own good

for your own good

for your own good

for your own good

for your own good

You should have called the culprits brothers                      

Boys make mistakes                                                             

Sisters and daughters are getting spoilt                                 

Choose b/w promiscuous culture & safe environment           

Rape is sometimes right and sometimes wrong                 

Women are equally responsible                                               

Male pigeons always chase female pigeons                             

Chow Mein leads to an urge to indulge in rape                         

Stop girls from wearing jeans                                               

Ninety percent of rapes are consensual                                 

Rapes are not in control of the police                                   

It is an animal instinct                                                               

We have imbibed the US                                                       

Pretty women who protest are dented and painted                                          

(Found poem made entirely from politician and police statements post incidents of rape in India)


Cover up

(Woman who survived gang rape, acid attack thrice; forced to drink acid by perpetrators)

How many perverts does it take to change a light bulb? 

Dad says wear full pants when a lower caste electrician comes 

home to look at your sockets but don’t forget to offer 

courtesy water & smile for the camera with me 

when the right winged prime minister 

celebrates womanhood on Twitter 

as #selfiewithdaughter. A woman on the news melts

as she is bathed in acid, she shakes it off

like drying off wet hair. All Indians are my brothers

and sisters is the first line of our pledge: 

But a dented sister must beg police brothers to write 

an FIR as her body burns bureaucratically 

and she is burdened for proof. And she better be wearing 

full pants while begging. The govt. must mandate begging 

bowls with pink bows for all women while doling out 

Rs. 1,00,000/- as her consolation. She must learn to cover 

all of her sockets with bowls and hide the jangling pennies 

of protest in her chest 

Photo of Preeti Vangani

Photo of Preeti Vangani

Preeti Vangani is an MFA (Writing) candidate at University of San Francisco. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in BOAAT, Noble/Gas Qtrly, Juked, Lines+Stars and Knicknackery among others. She’s a spoken word poet and has been a featured performer at several San Francisco events including Voz Sin Tinta and Kearny Street Workshop. She is the winner of the Raedleaf (India) Poetry Prize 2017 and has a book forthcoming in 2019.