Poem: ‘Honor Killing’ by Sweta Srivastava Vikram

Poem: ‘Honor Killing’ by Sweta Srivastava Vikram

It’s been estimated that over 20,000 women in the Middle East and Southwest Asia, where Islam is practiced, are killed by their family members if the latter thinks the victim has brought disgrace to the family or community. 

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Dead, she stares at the sea
as it carries her bones
thrown by guards,
smoking water pipes.

Her mother’s mouth fills with sand,
her father and brothers’ hands are covered
with gloves to cleanse the stains
left on the walls of their family
by a man who spread her legs,
tore her apart like a coyote.

Right before her murder, she didn’t see
the silhouette of her face
in her grandmother’s heart.

Apparently the family’s pride lies
underneath her skirt,
in the space between her legs.

Poem “Honor Killing” excerpted with permission from the book No Ocean Here: Stories in Verse about Women from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East published by Modern History Press. Copyright (c) 2013 Sweta Srivastava Vikram. All Rights Reserved

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