lamenting protected within the boundaries of my burka buried beneath the world I took Billie with me a haggard chorus of one a voice tied to silk and twisted hemp that cut my ears with a melodic charm her stretched out words the ones that never stood to be sounded were an incantation pouring my despair across a crop drugged and lying in wait for me she squeezed herself through an iPod a euphonious amulet energized by currents of expectations a gift given by a visiting girl from the
West of Philly to encourage my heart a girl who came to Herat
with beaded hair braided in the shape of a halo carrying the world in a Walmart duffel bag
we are both Khadeeja the supposed complement of someone else she taught her sisters an ambitious grammar tied to a human history told through Holiday’s songs amid the redolence of the musk-scented roses and orange blossoms in the hall of fields flushed with swaying
poppies poppies naked in their fearless redness red like the hardened candy apples I lick
through my cloth cage a cage with no delicious opening for my tongue to peek out and taste the world.
I will burn myself today when the sun is its most vain amid the opulence of candy-colored poppies between the embrace of voluptuous pining
trees with Billie plugged in my ears. I will pour from a returnable Coca-Cola
bottle dinner’s petrol over my whole existence and wish that someone with hands that are enlightened will rub the sweetness of honey into my
Engagement for Burning, originally
appeared in Damazine; A Journal of the Muslim World, and is
my small attempt to shed light on the growing problem of Afghani women, particularly
in the province of Herat, burning themselves- self-immolation- as an extreme
protest against the dire challenges of their lives.
Here’s a link to a series of news articles about this