living for a family
that prefers their daughters to be
invisible, silent, acquiescent
is like trying to walk on the edge of
a sword. it’s a constant struggle
between what i want and what i should do
in the name of izzat and haya.
because god forbid i have an opinion or a voice
and let the fire in my veins and my lungs
and my stomach burn bright. here is what they mean
with the words they don’t say:
little brown girl, you are our property. you are our
honour and our reputation. if you step out of line, you
ruin your name, you ruin our name, you tarnish the family
legacy and honour. you destroy us. and
you will never get married. you will never amount to
anything unless i decide, unless we decide. because our
pride rests on your shoulders, and you will not be a bride
with your dark skin, or your outrageous feminist rants
about your rights and your dreams and your thoughts
and your opinions and the justice you deserve.
little brown girl, you are made to serve
your father, your brother, your husband.
little brown girl, you are to be seen and not heard