Photo credit: Flickr / Rachel Caiano

Oh Little Brown Girl

Oh little brown girl,

your mother tells you

to close your legs

otherwise the cloak of

virtue will leave you

Oh little brown girl,

your father cannot love you

and all you want is

him to hold you close

Oh little brown girl,

you grow into curves

and your mother tells you

it’s a curse, cover up

otherwise men will come clawing

at your skin

Oh little brown girl,

your brother can conquer the world

but don’t you dare

step out of this world

Oh little brown girl,

you think he is handsome, funny, soft

but it is the devils work, it is haram,

to love, to yearn, to desire, your aunty says.

Oh little brown girl,

the days were made to

practice for being a wife, a mother

and the nights were made

for you to dream

of a world that is entirely yours

But even in dreams, my little brown girl,

you aren’t for you

you are for your mother’s reputation,

you are for your father’s mistakes,

you are for your aunties to school, to dress, to scrutinise,

you are for your brother to cook, clean, run after his mess.

you are for the man who your family will give you to,

in the name of love, in the name of Allah.

You are not for you.

Oh little brown girl,

forever wondering if being a brown girl is a blessing or curse,

forever wishing

to be a brown boy

forever yearning to be