Honour Killing

(In Lahore, in the last year of the twentieth century, 
A woman was shot by her family in her lawyer’s office. 
Her crime was that she had asked for a divorce. 
The whole Pakistan Senate refused to condemn the act. 
They called it an honour killing.)


At last I'm taking off this coat, 
this black coat of a country
that I swore for years was mine, 
that I wore more out of habit
than design. 
Born wearing it, 
I believed I had no choice.


I'm taking off this veil, 
this black veil of a faith
that made me faithless
to myself, 
that tied my mouth, 
gave my god a devil's face, 
and muffled my own voice.


I'm taking off these silks, 
these lacy things
that feed dictator dreams, 
the mangalsutra and the rings 
rattling in a tin cup of needs
that beggared me.


I'm taking off this skin, 
and then the face, the flesh, 
the womb.


Let's see
what I am in here
when I squeeze past
the easy cage of bone.


Let's see
what I am out here, 
making, crafting, 
plotting
at my new geography.

-- Imtiaz Dharker

Tags: Islam, burqua, fanaticism, honor killing, poem, poetry, religion, slavery

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