B.E. Kaur feels that the frequent opposition of Punjabi social expectations to the egalitarian values of Sikhi have torn at her from the inside. “In seeking a Gursikh partner, I have walked a thin line between dignity and second-class citizenship,” she said. “This poem was inspired by a combination of my own and my sister-friends’ lived experiences. I wrote it to unearth discomfort I have felt in a way that is life-affirming and Truthful.”

From the second floor
I watch you wave the chaur
Your handsome face opens
To smile at the Kaur
Who comes to pray.
She is not me.

I come down from the second floor
And photograph you waving chaur
As devotional hymns ring out,
First from Singh. Then from Kaur.
She is not me.

In the basement bottom floor
I reflect on the chore
Of preparing your lunch
That does not agree with me.
I bring you alloo parantha with a smile
Obedient Kaur
She is not ME.

Behind the windows of my eyes
A brilliant child cries
In pain, separation from herself
The Beloved within.

I write poems, withstand storms.
Princess of Destiny
THAT is Me.

Better to live sovereign alone
than as a slave to small minds:
Adapt or cede, Singh,
I will not be ensnared.

The ONE is neither male nor female,
Endless LOVE, endless Might.
The yoke of duality slips through
This body made of light.

by B.E. Kaur


B.E. Kaur is an author, composer, and coach for children with neurological differences including ADHD and autism. Her poetry, translations, and biographies have been read in print by patrons of Natsoulas Gallery in Davis, CA, and major opera companies on the West and Gulf coasts. She is currently working on a set of poems about her favorite foods, which include freshly cured olives and medjool dates. You can read some of here work on her website.