if you’ve inherited my heart
then don’t be ashamed
of how desperate you sometimes feel
or how you stain sheets and shirts
that you are sopping wet
a walking hemorrhage
curious hands in the shower
the first menses of a young girl
a virgin writhing on a bed
you are on fire
you are like your mother.
So how could I ever talk about sin or damnation
when you have legs like creaking doors?
you welcome ghosts home
so I know you will know hell intimately
men who like to punch women in the face
who tongue kiss girls who look like their mother
men who hold you down, face in the mattress.
Daughter with a soft body
the hardest ones will fall for you
and you will usher them in
seek out their sharp edges
and by the time they’ve finished
you will be bloody and sore
teeth marks on your thighs
your torso a burnt house of worship.
Habibti, you do not deserve it but
you will be loved in fragments and fractions
until you no longer look like yourself
until your mouth is just the shape of his quiet name
oh my little girl
rip him out of your body
you come from a long line of women;
Hawa who doused herself in petrol
Ayan who pulled out her own teeth
Khadija who fell asleep in the river
forgetting is the hardest thing in the world,
– Warsan Shire
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