Poetry Shelf Monday Poem: Neema Singh ‘Before Cara Delevingne’

Before Cara Delevingne

Before Cara Delevingne
there was me
bushy-browed and proud
ready to walk down the catwalk
at Burwood Primary (down by the silver birches
where we played tree tag).

My eyebrows were so big and black they could knock out
the scrawny blonde kid at Intermediate,
the one who followed me and hit my legs
with a stick as I walked away
the one who called the only other brown girl in our class

My eyebrows were so wild they could radiate
waves of anger to the stranger at the bus stop
who said, “just smile, it’s not the end of the world”.

My eyebrows were so thick they punched through my voice
spoke so loudly that our Social Studies classroom rumbled
and everyone turned to listen.

In my dreams I have a sidekick –
with my beastly brows and Kajol’s unibrow
we are unstoppable.

Watch out tweezers and threaders and assorted brow shapers
we refuse to be plucked or trimmed into shape.
We bow only to the brow goddess
for long luscious fluffy brows.

Neema Singh

Neema Singh is a poet from Otāutāhi. Her work appears in Ko Aotearoa Tātou: We Are New Zealand(2020) and A Clear Dawn: New Asian Voices from Aotearoa New Zealand (2021) and she is currently working on her first collection of poetry. Neema is an experienced secondary school English teacher and holds a Master of Creative Writing from The University of Auckland.

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