damascus

I am yours

(or, for my grandmother, who disowned me)

by marziya mohammedali

I stand before the naked bulb,

stripped  bare.

 

bare, as the day I was born, the day

you failed to arrive,

finding reasons, excuses not to come.

 

why would you come all this way

to be disappointed?

 

after all,

 

a girl cannot carry the family name

a girl is not to be named for a prophet

a girl is not to be kept, but given away –

 

and yet, you chose my name.

 

I form the word, let it fall.

it sits, heavy and comfortable

around my neck, no albatross,

but still a reminder.

 

even then, you knew.

 

could you sense a loss, that something

of yourself had passed down,

this invisible inheritance

of obstinacy, determination –

 

I wonder if that’s why you named me:

one strong-willed woman

forced to acknowledge

her unwanted heir.

 

it's not the only thing you left me.

 

I search for you in the blank spots

in the will that does not carry my name,

in the bitter memories of being cast out.

 

you are a spectre, slipping into view

every time I turn to the mirror.

you still live, breathe in the lines

that form these pieces of me:

Marziya Mohammedali is a writer, photographer, multidisciplinary designer and university tutor. (more)

© studiodamascus 2016

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