Pakistani Girls’ School
Ah, there goes the blackboard again.
This time the wind of Cobras
has smashed it to smithereens and torn
the pencils from our hands.
The paper we cling to flaps so loudly
the teacher must shout the lesson.
Throw acid in our eyes and we’ll learn Braille
box our ears ‘til they burst and we’ll touch each other’s
mouths and hands to communicate
the anatomy of remedies
language of multiplication
geography of different lives.
Even women with PhD’s,
Women who’ve taught at Berkley,
Who’ve got patches of Christmas pines planted
To finance Christmas plans,
Women who travel the country dancing,
And speak 7 languages (4 of them fluently),
Even women who sleep with women instead of men,
Comedians who make a crowd smile
Just by stepping into a room
Can find themselves cowering behind doors
Hoping the locks will hold as a lover rages;
A storming that tears a house apart ‘til it matches an afflicted mind.
Such smart, talented women can find themselves lowering
A daughter who has to pee out the bedroom
Window to the backyard, praying
The whirlwind that used to be a person
Doesn’t come whipping outside after her,
And whisk her away.
Hopes and prayers sometimes work out.
To those who escape the storm’s immediate vicinity
Who keep it permanently at bay
Who concentrate their powers and will it out of state.