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On a dewing street I stood bare and pinned by desire.

Poetry | Poetry Tuesday
October 19, 2021

                           To tell it once is not enough.
                                  — Emily Skaja

God made laughter for the third incredulous woman.
                           We cover our mouths, ashamed to echo what’s hers. 

We bleed as punishment for the curious first. When we don’t, 
                           we dread the burden borne by the immaculate second. 

I submitted once, faithfully, & it was years 
                           before I bloated with shame. He touched my hair with unsullied hands. 

My hair that molted under cover of moonlight. 
                           On a dewing street I stood bare and pinned by desire. 

On a street pinnate with walnut I yielded. What else? 
                           Doesn’t Islam mean submission? the subordinate “to God” 

conveniently elided. O’ seraphim reading over my shoulder, 
                           dutiful scribes, again just for you: I submit faithfully to a man. 

What else? More—I was confounded by a voice. 
                           He loved to drawl my name, lilting into the ah 

like it was an exclamation. He spoke my name & made me 
                           a performance. A public, deviating miracle. 

In our town by the sea, we walked on either side of a wide street, 
                           two leaves mangling on a butchered stalk. 

I’ll be the first to mark this obscene. How to keep the holy out of this?
                           This land I’ve ravaged with my own clay hands.

If God willed, He’d have domesticated me from the start. I am my own
                           witness: every violence reaching for me, rising again & again.