There’s a woman I know…

There’s a woman I know, a widow.
She was slapped by a male relative. 
They stopped her from lodging a complaint. 
She listened; they are after all her people. 
They told her it was inappropriate to wear the jewelry she liked. 
They told her not to talk to someone not of her gender. 
She listened; they are after all her people. 
She is young. 
She can not find love. 
She can not remarry. 
She has never questioned it. 
She is a ‘good’ woman.
There is a woman I know, a wife.
She is pregnant. She never wanted to be a mother.
The idea scares hers. It distresses her. This was not the plan. Everyone knew the plan.
They tell her it is her calling as a woman. Her duty as a wife, an unreal fear. The day she holds the baby, the fears, they will vanish.
She listens, they are all her people.
She is a ‘good’ wife.
There is a woman I know, a divorcee.
She feels alone. She would love a family.
It has been many years with no one to confide to, no one to come home to.
They tell her a Christian remarriage is adultery. She must not sin.
This is her burden to bear, the sins of the man she was once married to.
She listens, they are after all her people.
She is a ‘good’ christian.
There is a woman I know, a mother of a girl.
They sent her home. Straight from the hospital.
They said she had failed, brought ill-fortune their way.
Her people, they calmed her, held her close and begged them to take her back.
They showed mercy, they took her back.
She listened; they were her people.
She bore them a son next. She was a ‘good’ daughter-in-law.
There is a girl I used to know, an artist.
They loved her sketches, they would give her little white handkerchiefs. Pretty motifs she could paint for them.
She could have gone to art school.
They said it was just a hobby. Girls must marry and raise their kids, bring good name to their ‘baabul.’
She listened to them, they are all her people.
She is a ‘good’ daughter.
There is a woman I know, a nanny.
She is kind, sensitive and caring.
She has a sister abandoned after marriage, two little children in tow.
Her mother is old and unwell too.
She has spent all her youth raising the little ones and fending for her family.
They say life would have been easier, had they had a son, a brother.
She listens. All her efforts can't make up for her gender.
 There is a widow I also know, raped by her brother-in-law.
There is a wife I know, thrown out barefeet in the middle of the night, her little one at her waist.
There is many-a-girls I know, molested as children.
They never speak out, Raised in such ‘good’ families
There is a girl I know, she loves her own space, she lives alone.
There is a girl I know, she wants never to marry.
There is a girl i know, she wants seven kids.
There is a girl I know, she left her marriage for love.
There is a girl I know, a mother without marriage.
They are all women I know, yearning to just be.

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