POERTY: My Scarf


"Where is your scarf ?" they ask,

 I pull on the ends of my hair willing it to grow faster.
They are in my peripheral, 
watching me, watch myself.
I see their faces,
I pretend not to notice 
the contempt 
painted across their brilliant brown skin 
it is almost too much for me.
The stones they cast 
are sharp 
enough 
to bust through flesh. 
We are sisters, 
I let them cast the 
first
second
thousandth stone.
They know how hard it is to be a woman.
That is why they whisper amongst themselves,
I hear one say “Her body wasn’t made for that shirt”
I look down at the popping chest buttons on my black button up,
and the red lace of my bra is shyly peaking through.
What was my body made for?
His hands?
Her Hands?
Their Hands?
Everything.
Except this shirt.
The thing is, 
I wore this shirt because a boy in my Organic Chemistry class said he liked it.
I should say something,
but my throat is too tight,
and my knees are too light.
They can tell by the paint on my nails that my forehead hasn’t touched the ground facing east in at least a week.
The truth is 
it’s been months,
acknowledging it makes me gag.
I wipe runaway mascara from my upper right lid.
My makeup is too perfect to be concerned with covering a face that strangers press their tongues into, trying to compliment.
Momma says; 
"They can see that you need the flattery to survive"
My father says; 
"You shouldn’t rely on the slick mouths of men to make me feel wanted"
My sisters 
are strangers 
and their faces are hard lined, 
I want to SCREAM!, I wan to yell at them
I want to unzip my skin and walk out of it like it’s this shirt that doesn’t fit me right.
That, would really give them something to whisper about,
then maybe, they could blame my waywardness on something else,
on misfiring neurons or chemical imbalances or madness.
But I’m too afraid they’d think I’m possessed and tell their brothers.
Then who would marry me?
The women’s bathroom at my school smells like piss, vomit and desperation.
I can’t think over the smell.
I brush past them on my way out.
The women’s bathroom is a cesspool,
a watering hole, 
where news is shared, 
and securities are inverted.
I hear their eyes,
praying for me.
They pray that my hair will fall out 
and my eyes will drop out of my head.
They know better than I that it’s better to be ugly than to never see Jennah.
They are my sisters, 
and I love them for the sake of God.


By Key Ballah- www.keywrites.com

 

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