• Halima Anwar

Barren Wombs

What it means to become a stranger

in a home you laid the bricks for,

the walls of a home you painted

magnolia, violet and magnolia again.

Then red.


Like the faded stain of crushed pomegranate

on the sheet that became your passport.

When these colours and sounds

you once only dreamt on soiled sheets

spring up on you lucid,

what once was ideal becomes putrid.


We tolerate and tolerate and tolerate,

our tongues cease to move

and our tear ducts seal themselves.

Thousands of stories at the tips of our tongues.

A lifetime of small injustices,

and big ones too.

The small ones cut like razors

on our upper thighs

and the big ones we become impregnated with.

We carry their weight

and are burdened with their existence

living our lives in subsistence.

You pour your purpose into paint buckets

and delicately greet the corners of this home.

You ask him over and over if it is a shade he enjoys

and he tells you again;

his favourite colour is the red that you bleed.

Your value comes not from the pigment of these walls,

but from how loudly you can sing his praises,

when these cuts and grazes

blossom into split temples

and painful hazes

the same places we go to worship

become our theatres.

When we fear more than God,

we fear only the man He created.


By Halima Anwar