Sixteenth of September,
six days after my sister was born
was the first time I remember it happening.
Body in my bed, I knew that was strange—
I had always slept alone—
but I didn’t know if it was wrong.
In school the next day
I looked around at all the girls,
I wanted to ask if this was normal.
I was twelve and I could not be sure
my body belonged to me.
I read horror stories,
compared myself to them and said,
you have faced a fraction of the full range.
I said, you were complicit,
he never told you to be silent.
I am seventeen still reading
article after article and I think:
my father is not evil,
my father does not deserve to be behind bars—
who will feed my family?—
but I think I would feel safer if he was.
I think about one night
when he asked, “ does it feel good”
and I felt myself disintegrate.
I am not sure he heard what I heard:
does it feel good when I am making your body,
in which you will stand
for the rest of your life, unlivable?
Does it feel good when I am desecrating it,
when I make it unholy ground?
At the trial of our sins I will ask
God what my body is, and He will say
“it is a trust” and I will point to you and say
“then he has broken it.”
Note: At the time of writing (2018) I was Muslim. In Islam our bodies are an amanah, or trust, that is given to us.