Within you flows my blood, the blood of my mother and my grandmother
and several generations of pious women who’ve held their honour and dignity.
The words you utter are foreign to me. You have the stern gaze of your father,
but I see no trace of me in you. It angers me.
You have left the house.
Do not come back for you do not belong here.
You haven’t returned, it has been a day since you left. You were always a stubborn girl.
Perhaps it was wrong of father to have raised his hand. I overheard him weeping while he worked. Perhaps he feels he was too negligent.
Have you no ounce of shame?
I have given birth to not a girl, but heartache.
I went through your room today. I found a picture of all of us which you have stuck in the little corner of the mirror. With you, you have taken away the chaos of the house, its laughs and tears and in its place left a silence that pierces through our skulls.
And yet, you will not come back.
I’ve swallowed whatever remains of my pride and shame. My pride my shame, Shifa, return to me. I am your mother, do you not seek what lies beneath my feet? You will not turn skywards when seized with sorrow I know, let alone your mother, but daughter; I will leave the door open tonight. Come back to me as you have been and as you will become.
I pour my sorrow out to the stars. Sweet, beautiful daughter. This wretched heart of mine has wronged you surely.
Forgive me, forgive me,