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Ode to the Father (Who is Everywhere)

Written by Ather Zia, a mother, poet, and an anthropologist. She is the founder editor of www.Kashmirlit.org


Stop!

please stop putting yourself in other men’s shoes

[doesn’t behoove a father]

look her up and down, size her

your eyes talking, saying body is not Godly enough

do you want to join the naysayers?

the world of color which already tells her,

her brown, stolid, hairy body is not Worldly enough

 

Stop!

please stop assuming other men’s eyes

to appraise the degree of sexedness

of your own daughter

how can you even?

are you giving other men a bad name too?

do you want to join the naysayers?

the world of color which already tells her,

her brown, stolid, hairy body is not Worldly enough

 

Stop!

do not ask her to hide her body

give her courage to overcome

what is being thrown her way

[and as a mother I know, it is more than a lot]

do you want to join the naysayers?

the world of color which already tells her,

her brown, stolid, hairy body is not Worldly enough

 

Stop!

do you want her to recall your voice

for ‘only’ telling her if her butt shows

if she is ‘presentable’

when she speaks in public

[oh! she will, she will, she will need to]

do you want to join the naysayers?

the world of color which already tells her,

her brown, stolid, hairy body is not Worldly enough

 

when you look at her,

see the goddess in her all ready

look with the sweet pride of a man

Muslim enough (or just human)

who crafts his daughter’s attitude to life

as her Hijab – her protection [when you are not there]

trust me this once [i do not ask for it much]

if it was  any other way

all the women in the world,

color no bar,

on continents beyond and far

 

would brandish a Hijab,

instead of a pepper spray.

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