I had to resurrect the brown goddess
out of worn out reference points,
out of myth, fiction, lies.
I had to go along with her pantomime.
Those from my country that didn’t need her
thought me old-fashioned or strange.
I had to stitch the brown goddess together
out of a sometimes thinner, white template,
then I had to go away and meditate
on why she was beautiful, read.
I had to transmutate all my shame of her,
reverse every act:
cowering would be thrusting my chest out.
I made worshipping her a detailed project
for something to do.
I met others creating their own brown goddesses
at different stages,
I studied their work,
I hardened my brown goddess
with skin like leather.
I rewrote her past,
peeled off the projected
ugliness tarnishing her.
I built the shrine to my brown goddess large
to take up space without apologising,
I loved her like a child
and mended her with gold,
and as the sun shone on her
and I caught her reflection finally
she was I.
© 2019 Setareh Ebrahimi
Setareh Ebrahimi performs regularly, and is a poet working in Faversham, Kent. She is the author of In My Arms from Bad Betty Press.