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Tied feet
Curled toes
Aching legs
“Why?” she asks
“Pretty feet”, they say.

Must hide her face
Can’t leave the house
“Why?” she asks.
“You must go unnoticed”, they say.

Can’t vote
No voice
Not allowed to learn
“Why?” she asks.
“Not allowed to have power,” they say.

Wears pasty makeup
Itchy dresses
Fancy hairstyles
“Why?” she asks.
“Must be pretty,” they say.

“Pretty, pretty, pretty,”
she thinks, all day long.
“What is the value of this beauty,
if it takes up your whole life?”
“Nothing,” she thinks. “It is pointless.”

Suhani Pandya
Suhani Pandya, 12
Englewood Cliffs, NJ