Silent screams

Note: I wrote this poem a few years ago stirred by the tragedy of a friend. I thought about publishing it here after a friend suggested that some women may appreciate the feminist imagery.

 

Silent screams

 

This was years later since

Her mother used to wake her on dewy mornings,

Calling her Houri; her beauty; her heart.

And she would marvel at herself

By puckering her lips and pinching her rosy cheeks redder,

And sighing deeply so her bosom would heave;

All for the reflection in the mirror.

***

This was soon after he whisked her away

On a white horse that galloped faster than she could sigh

To keep her locked in his white-washed clay fort.

No matter how long she stood against them,

The solid ashen walls did not reflect.

So she puckered and pinched and sighed blindly;

All for the reflection in his eyes.

***

But they were as dreary as the walls –

Dull, yet fiery; carnal but passionless.

Oh, those sweltering beads of sweat that deposited on his brow;

And the blue veins that swelled up on his large brown hands;

That Satanic smile that lingered just at the edges of his almost indigo mouth;

And the bull-like nostrils which flared when he inhaled deeply;

Just at the sight of her nubile body!

***

The Lance wages war inside the Tilth;

This, she was never told.

She knocked and knocked on the slammed shut doors of Compassion

Till her knuckles bled and opened raw

And fingernails left gaping wounds in the posh goose-down.

Omi, he forces himself upon me every night!” she cried into her armpit.

“What nonsense?! There is no rape in marriage! It is manly love

For a young and rosy wife, my child.”

***

The blue spot on her thigh where he left his thumb print

In his bid to balance and pull up straight;

The purple one on her left shoulder blade where he bit

To control the lunging beast inside;

And that invisible gash on her soul that he left forever

In the name of marital union were all for

The lawful wife to whom he came as he willed.

***

 

It burned and scorched and singed forever,

Forever, and forever; she knew eternity well.

Eternity is when you scream silently

Swallowing the putrid blood that drips inside your throat

With each thrust, nibble, and tug.

Eternity is when you could devour your own womb,

Just because there is no rape in marriage!

***

They said she couldn’t refuse her man

They told her to make haste when he calls

So she stripped her soul and let it sit at the foot of the bed

While the flesh lay cold on colder red satin sheets

But something went terribly wrong; for the soul cursed her all night,

Each night; while the angels never blessed her for

All that she endured in the name of matrimony.

***

Between his heavy, odorous breaths in her neck

She looked up and saw the Spirit clinging onto the pallid ceiling

Looking directly into her lifeless eyes and she knew then

She would always be cursed and wait perpetually to be blessed.

So on a summer’s night she ran clutching the hand of her Spirit

Between the two giant mounds,

Under her feet gushed forth springs of fresh blood.

***

That night her spirit and she ascended to the Heavens

And they say she looks down from among the stars

To bless young married couples in love

Who see their reflections in each others’ eyes

And speak sweet words of Love into each others’ ears.

She blesses neither al-sakouti, nor al-besiss

For Silence and Insolence make a deadly duo.

***

Her Spirit returns every summer on a silent night

To wake her Omi just like she used to wake her once upon a time

The old woman hurriedly shrouds the mirrors

Because they can’t reflect her Houri anymore

She whispers in her Omi’s elderly ear

A secret her Omi never knew she would live to hear

Just because she thought there is no rape in marriage.

 

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16 thoughts on “Silent screams

  1. What a beautiful way you have with words. As someone whose father uttered those same words ‘There’s no rape within marriage’ as well as anyone else I went to for help, I feel so lucky compared to your friend – as I have my freedom now and my body is mine again. I hope your poem reaches people and changes them and their attitudes, for sadly, I still hear justifications and excuses for this kind of behaviour. We all owe it to our sisters to speak to speak out and I thank you, sister, for using your wonderful way with language to do that and reach out to the world.

    • Metis says:

      Ms Understand, welcome to Metis! Thanks for your kind words and i’m really sorry to hear you suffered like my friend 😦 My friend passed away from an illness, but her life was miserable.

      “I still hear justifications and excuses for this kind of behaviour.”

      That is awful!

  2. Seema Rehan says:

    This is too powerful for me. I have also been there and this poem made me burst into tears. You really do have a remarkable way with words.

  3. Lat says:

    I’m speechless and can do only one thing,give you a standing ovation!

  4. Becky says:

    Wow, this is absolutely amazing, very beautiful and incredibly powerful. Thank you so much for sharing!

  5. Metis says:

    Thanks Seema, you are very brave!

  6. The concept of complete obedience, behavioural and sexual to the husband is one which I see in many communities (although, thankfully I think it is lessening). I’ve lived in the UK & Egypt and I went to Islamic schools and have been told so many times that the husband is entitled to sex and that it is a sin for the wife to deny sex. This sense of entitlement that men are brought up with is the flipside of this – the resultant judgements within communities often penalise and stigmatize the woman when she should be supported. I’ve so many friends that have also been in the same situation. I just wish this subject was spoken about more openly, it’s something I feel is brushed under the carpet and if it was spoken about more, perhaps fewer people would do it.

    • Metis says:

      I totally see your point. There was a blogger I followed once and then she shut her blog when people lashed out at her for saying that she was raising three boys to demand that they all marry virgins and provide proof of their brides’ virginity the morning after the wedding. She was married to a Jordanian and had gone through the same exhibition herself which she thought was perfectly Islamic (Not!). She insisted that there is no such thing as rape in a Muslim marriage. People gave a very rough time 🙂

  7. almostclever says:

    I am breathless. Your wordplay is superb. You made me imagine a man as a beast, as a lion mates with a lioness, biting her neck and causing blood and bruising. Animal and lacking all form of passion or compassion. As a woman who has endured and survived sexual abuse myself, I must say this poem is cathartic, and tragic. It hangs oppressively in the air. It is the female truth.

    • Metis says:

      Almostclever, this is such a beautiful comment. Thank you so much for your sensitive words and I’m sorry you went through so much pain yourself. It breaks my heart.

  8. susanne430 says:

    I usually don’t like poems, but you captured me from the first stanza. Although I found the subject disgusting and myself ready to scream, “Why do you allow someone to control you like this?!” in my hope that by yelling, this woman would realize she had the right to break free, I come away sad that fathers and mothers teach their children such things. Why they allow their daughters to be like innocent lambs taken advantage of by wolves I will never ever understand.

  9. Stephanie says:

    You are so talented and beautiful! I echo all of the others statements. I just love good poetry and you certainly live up to the standard.

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