Fawziyya Abu Khalid

Fawziyya Abu KhalidNot with your tribe's spears i write
for they are dull
but with my nails
words without walls
Sister ,
For you i have inscribed
weaving the sun's rays
to your latticed window .
To tell me you accept
The tribe's traditions and prescriptions
is a concession
to being buried alive
The noble inch or two
of tatoo
over your skin
shall curve a bottomless night
into your flesh
It pains me
to see the tribe dwell
in you sprawling
in your college seat not unlike
your grandmother
who thought she was
a lottery ticket won
at home . A woman
in her twenties
sitting before some tent
shrouded with robes and veils
carrying the spindle
but does not spin .
To hear you talk
about a cloak
the clan's man bought
for you ;
to hear you boast
about blue-blood
the heirs
and chip off the old oak tree .
The Sheik's voice in your voice
cancels you .
My kingdom does not claim
dowries of cows and cattle
thus the Tribe rejects me
For you are their legitimate child
I am the one disavowed
You belong to lords of virgin lands
I to seasons bleeding flames
How long will they keep raping you on your wedding night ? - Contemporary Arab Women Writers and Poets by Evelyne Accad and Rose Ghurayyib - Monograph Series of the Institute for Women's Studies in the Arab World - Beirut University College - # 5 - 1985

* * *

Two Little Girls
(for, and about, her mother)
I hang on to the hem of her dress like a child hanging
On to the string of an immovable kite
I climb her braid like a squirrel climbing a hazelnut tree
In the late afternoon we jump from one world to another
we play in the wind
like sparrows that opened the door to the cage
. . .
We share one apple and innumerable dreams
We paint a paradise of questions on the face of the desert
We spray each other with the water of the mirage
accompany a fleeting doe

The Poetry of Arab Women - Edited by Nathalie Handal

(*) was born in Riyadh in 1959. She has BAs from Universities in Lebanon and the USA, and an MA from King Saud University, where she now lectures in sociology. She has published three books of poetry.

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