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Brides for Sale

Sonita Alizadeh
Language: English



Let me whisper to you my words.
So no one hears that I speak of the selling of girls.
My voice shouldn’t be heard as it is againat sharia.
Women must remain silent. This is this city's tradition.
I scream to make up for a woman's lifetime silence.
I scream on behalf of the deep wounds on my body.
I scream for a body exhausted in its cage
A body that has broke under the price tags you put on it.
I am fifteen years old, from Herat.
A few have come as suitors and I am confused.
I am perplexed by this tradition and these people.
They sell girls for money. No right to choose.
Now, my father is concerned about the cost of life.
Whoever pays more the girl is his.
If I knew that you would keep count of my costs,
If I knew that you would keep track of my bites,
I would have returned hungry from the table
Or I would have eaten your leftovers.
Like all other girls, I am caged.
I am seen as a sheep grown only to be devoured.
They repeat that is time to sell me.
I am a person too, these are my eyes and my ears.
Have you ever seen a sheep complaining about death?
Have you ever seen a sheep, as emotional as I am?
Oh God, I can't live far from you,
cannot charge you with anything, no matter how in need.
But you... alas, what should I say?
I know you gave birth to me, how can I repay?
Let me scream. I am tired of the silence
Lift your hands off me. I feel suffocated
You didn't converse with me for so long
That I keep checking to assure myself I am alive.
Voiceless, I am filled with doubt.
If I am dead, how can I feel the whips?
This is your city's tradition for girls to remain silent.
Then tell me, what can I do to prove my personhood?
Maybe escape and suicide are terribly stupid
But what can one do if there is no support?
But even if you pull out all my hair
I will not do anything to embarass you.
If selling me will bring you happiness,
I will try to lie "everything is great"
I hope that God will keep your smiles
And my smiles I will exchange with your pain.
But I wish you would review the Quran.
I wish you knew it doesn't say women are for sale.
Hold on, I need some peace.
Leave me alone. I am sick of the makeup
My bruised face will not heal with makeup.
What you did to me, infidels wont'do to Muslims.
I swear it hurts when there are no feelings,
When you are in a stranger's embrace.
Continuing my verse is difficult.
Your happiness is all I want.
But look at me and remember my face.
I was the one up on your bedside all night.
I am leaving, thankful of all your kindness,
But I am worried. Who will take care of you?
I am leaving but just in case you miss me,
I leave my doll here for you.
Don't let her cry like me.
Don't sell her, let her be a gift to remember me by.


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