(What I will tell my daughter)
Someday you will be told that a woman's gaze must never stretch as far as a man's. That his should soar above the seventh heaven -like shooting stars between planets- to find himself on Saturn's rings but yours- yours must never exceed the ceiling of your house because you were made different.
Your place- lies in the cleanliness of kitchen shelves the dust between radiator and wall the stains on both carpet and floor- because you are a woman... nothing more.
But this poem is called woman Called mother and wife. Called daughter.
It is wombs stretching- filled with pain and love, lungs pumping life into new body and soul- ribs expanding, housing, embracing, caring, creating.
This poem is called woman,
It is hearts breaking- Aching for both infant and man. it is tender, patient , loving, forever, understanding, never, relenting, and always, always, always- real.
This poem is all woman. All you.
The night you are born I will take you to see the moon- Full and bright - it's reflection filling the tiny pupils of your eyes And your father and I will Argue about whether to call you "Shamsa" after the sun Or "Qamar" after the moon.
Your thirteenth birthday is when I will read you this Before periods, And heartbreak and boys. You will be as tall as me, Your breasts emerging, hips curving And your lips stained pink Because you are learning That being beautiful- Is more important to the world than being real, And that everything you ever did would always be labelled "Not bad for a girl" And that in some places- Having a daughter Still brought shame on families.
But this poem is called woman, Is all woman All you.
This poem is a reminder of what it means To descend from a line of women With the strength Found only in martyrs who set themselves on fire to save their kin.
This poem is all heart. It is to remind you That you share blood with women Who march with shrapnel in their thighs But fall to their knees the moment Their grandchild frowns, The same women who carry in the Wobble of their arthritic joints More strength than humanly possible.
This poem is because you are one half of life, One half of body and soul. This poem is because You are a moon And you must never forget That you possess in you The strength to shine When enveloped in darkness- To smile when drowning in pain.
You see, They might say That a woman's gaze should never stretch as far as a man's. No, yours must stretch further. Because you are a woman, Nothing less. Farah Gabdon.