Cherry Boy

September 15, 2019

you still ask me why i used to
pin down your arms whenever
we made love –
why i never let you control
the way we moved.
it was because i knew i was
something you did in secret.
the thing that made you flush scarlet whenever
your mother asked you about the cherry
coloured bruises running down your
neck like an aching riverbed.
‘imagine you meet the girl of your dreams
and she sees that?’ she’d say.
see. i knew what i was. of course i did.
and i couldn’t stand it.
i didn’t want it.
so whenever you ask me that question again,
print this answer into your neck too:
i did not want to be your bad habit –
i wanted to be your only habit. ❞

Salma Deera,

‘listen girl,’ Medea says, ‘you are
not the first person in the world to
suffer from a broken heart.
but i will treat you like you are.
listen girl. he is not calling out your name.
your name to him is nothing.
it might have been before.
once, your name might have been
the only word he knew when he
was blind sad or bursting with sun.
those days are over.
your name can only exist in your own mouth now.
say it over and over. say it until it doesn’t sound
like a name, but just a sound.
the promises he made you are just sounds now too.
remember that.
your hands are what will hold you together now.
and you want to be mad? be mad.
here is a plate. throw it through his window,
listen to the crack. the shatter. laugh into the night.
call yourself the sun. see, you will rise.
and are you less of a woman for this? no
what is woman?
woman is this – enduring.
listen girl, you will get over this – you will.
but what fool said you had to do it silently?
here is a tip – scream.’

Salma Deera

The Burning Ones

June 7, 2018

If history says anything,
If it says anything at all,
It is this:
All women know how to do is burn.

If her story says anything —
And it says everything —
We girls have been raised to walk through the fire.

Salma Deera