Every time
my sister repeats angrily
what my mother says subtly

Who am I to say
that it is my fault
our sleeping angles are all wrong?

Everyday, the first words
which greet me in the bedroom:
“What is for today?”
Often, these are
the last words spoken.

As prostitution’s pointing finger
stretches from the million shining stars
Counsels come afloat
on nights that shudder.

The pathetic mewing of a cat
unable to feed its young
grips my insides
as it were a child’s sob.

Even you may have complaints.

My position has been clarified
through time and history.

To receive from you a little love
however muddled
to fulfil my responsibility
as your child’s mother

To receive from the outside world
sanitary napkins and contraceptives

To receive a little help here and there
and, if I can
command you just a little
affirm just a little
my authority
in full knowledge of everything
I open my legs out

– Salma. Contract

translated by V. Geetha and S.V. Rajadurai