The Arab Woman of the Future

The Arab Woman of the Future
is date molasses and tehina
fed to mouths made bellyful
has never known
all the kinds of hunger
a body and soul can pang for
measures herself against
what was once called an oriental
rug and thinks
the stitching simple
color sanitized and muted
has never heard the saying
il mekhalifa bint masnooda
b il kheit, w il mekhalifa walad
masnooda b il heit
her brothers equally confused
knows where her vagina is
has no idea that her foremothers
held down her foremothers
turned all the pleasure of her body
a thousand and one scars, a budded wound
reads in history books
about something called a hymen
that was prized by the ancients
dictated the worth of her sex
by lecherous, respectable men
feels blood flow freely
between her legs, introduces her mother
to her menstrual cup
instead of crying, she responds
‘how environmentally friendly’
grows the body of her hair
or sets it all aflame to nothing
covers herself to eyes
or nothing
laid bare on a prayer rug

marries no one and her family
celebrates with a zaffa daily
hennaed bodies dancing
a bridal cloth isn’t
but an unburnished web of white
goes to her father
tells him her secret desires
he smiles
the landscape of the world
has always been hers
does not need protecting
is not ravished by eyes
listens to night sounds of her city
not words that would bend her
into nonexistence
gives birth to her children
they are of her body hers
she needs no one
to insist their existence
she voices her sound
everyone listens
she has said
knows thread holds
older than walls
reused, restitched, repaired
ends at those who cut it
but never ends
chooses each patterned color
in the tapestry of her lifetime
without second
she doesn’t know
any of this

let’s not break it

are the chances
history continues