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from the March 2016 issue

They Told You

Stick a toothpick of silence in your mouth!
That your word should never bear witness!
That your song should never be the echo of fire
While a fire is being prepared for you in the afterlife!
They told you
That your feet should be nailed to the household!
That you should never reach a market or a beach!
They told you
That you are your father’s when you’re young!   
That you are your spouse’s when you’re married!
That you are your grave’s once you're senile!
That you are born of the wrong rib!
That your testimony is invalid!
I tell you
My body is my own property!
I will free myself and rebel against darkness and lies!
I will chase the wounds from my life!
I tell you
How is it that you think you are great,
that you are a poet and singer,
that you are polygamous?
What is it that makes us different, you and I,
So different that you claim strength, supremacy, and power?
You and I, we’re the same!
Wake up from your lies, my brother!
Do not try to bind my footsteps!
If you see Evil in me, know it is only in your mind
If you say that it is God who told you so
I answer that you are wrong: God is the Lord of Kindness.

© Khadija Arouhal. Translation © 2016 by Olivia Baes. All rights reserved. 

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