Poetry

Mariam

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Named after the virgin mother

never to know the breadth of a man’s touch

the prodigious power of his presence

inside, a baby born not of the Lord

but by His will.

They called her whore,

Unchaste,

a liar by all indications.

how could a woman bear a child

and claim no offending man?

Named after the virgin mother

I was born,

And claimed

To shadow her standard,

Modesty not by virtue but by

The imposition of a fearful father

Who could not risk the

annihilation of his righteous reputation

by a lesser being,

his daughter.

Named after the virgin mother

My bountiful bosom forced

Beneath layers of darkened fabric

The same cloth

Covering my luscious locks

They wound and wrung

Tightly against my tender scalp.

My slender waist, my succulent shape

All sheathed under

The guise of loving protection

Named after the virgin mother

I am Mariam.

Not the divine, not the enshrined,

a simple

whore, unchaste,

My purity sold to the first man I met.

These are the tales they lend each aching ear

They forget, the stomach swells by the sowing of a seed

I claim not to be a virgin mother, but

a mother of a fatherless child.

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