Auntyhood or The Project of Living or Reproductive Justice for All (2022)

Content warning: abortion

When I was nine my aunty took me / ice-skating then to her house / opened a door called it my room / took me in to stay for goodness sake! / Back and forth here and there and everywhere / avate vutoo maadu polai is no place for a child to grow a sense of I / have always known what I was born from / Twenty years of marriage / something so wanted / an impossibility

I don’t know why my cousinsister tells me / the abortion did not work / no / the sought abortion never found / no / the wanted abortion never spoke / My mum thinks my aunty stole my love

I remember what no one remembers / Tuesdays half three to half four / aunty’s silver Honda through Wembley for veena class / cheese on toast from squishy white bread red onion green chilli number 4 strength cheddar cheese / fused to a tin foil wrapping I lick clean / I will always want metallic on my lips

At night I copypaste campaign posts / Reproductive justice for all / We will not go back / My body my choice / Mum is not sure she wants to live a half-life / but I am trying / to make cheese on toast the way she does / so I might feed a child with her hands.

About this work

Auntyhood or The Project of Living or Reproductive Justice for All looks at what it is to raise a child and give them a sense of freedom, the sacrifice involved in this, and the way a family forms around a child without their knowledge. Gayathiri considers what goes unsaid within their own family: historic denials of reproductive rights but also unspoken gratitude for care that has been given, forming an exploration of politics through family-making.

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