Abha and I dancing in Seda's kitchen in Hanover, Germany. That night Abha was preparing a large Indian feast for 20 plus women.When I was in Hanover at the International Feminist University for 3 months, I met and fell in deep sisterhood with a bevy of wonderful, wacky, intelligent, funny, generous, supportive, perplexing, honest, achingly beautiful women. Abha Dhayal, a filmmaker and poet from India was one of my closest IFU sisters. One weekends, a large gang of us women would party together, eat together, shop for food together, laugh together, dance together, make music together....our Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings were filled with amazing things to do, and we did everything together.
Abha and Samira (from Tunisia), my other heart-close IFU sister. Below, is a poem Abha wrote. It is about women sharing time together to help each other be strong.
Let us go laundering sister
the day is warm and the sun shines hot and unsmiling
the wind is not like melted butter today.....
we have a lot of washing to do.
Take out all your dreams sister
take them out of that dark cupboard
smelling and musty,
crumpled and torn,
beautiful, adventurous old dreams
that kept you awake
when you were a child...
I will take out mine and you take out yours
we'll wash them together
in a big, yellow, plastic tub.
We'll rub them and scrub them
till all their colours stand out,
squeeze out all the dirty water,
rinse them clean
till they smell of lilac
and all their colours shine like
they would hurt our eyes....
we will put them out to dry
on the line sister
you and I
your dreams and mine
all mixed and tumbled together
We will sit on the grass
still wet with last night's rain.
I will spread out my scarf
so you won’t feel the wetness.
You hold my hand while
I cry softly...
Waiting for the washing to dry
a long, long time...
We will fill this time with
our laughter sister,
and mix the colour of our skins
yours white, mine black.
we will churn it together
and make it the colour of the sky
while our dreams hang on the washline
We will pull out our veins
still throbbing and pulsating,
red and alive,
warm and hot,
full of pain,
full of love...
We will exchange them sister,
so you can feel my blood rushing through your body
when the winter is harsh and
the frost settles on
the grass outside your window, and
I will feel your warmth
when I lay down my head on the cold stone floor
We will lie on the grass together sister
and dream of another day
warm and sunny,
like a new born child.
We will hold the day in our arms,
cradling it to our chests
caressing our hair together sister
while our dreams flutter in the wind
And when the sun comes down
like a big ball falling beyond the earth
and the grass begins to turn dark
we will take down all our dreams
one by one
dry and crisp
we will fold them
one by one sister.
We will laugh
joyous and sad.
We will mix them all together in a big heap
and then share them.
You take half and I will keep the rest.
We will need each other’s dreams
when the sky is full of snow
and the earth turns hard
like a stone.