• Maryam Ghouth

Severed

Updated: Oct 13


“I look at you and see him:

your eastern brows, your thick locks,

the way you leave trails of sticky notes

and dot the room with cold teacups;

I see the day he took you from me when

even Margaret Thatcher couldn’t help me.

I see it all over again.”


She tells her daughter

the same story she’s told her every year:

“He chained me to a bed and then…”


When the daughter removes the lamp

from her room, the room in which she

scatters notes and dots teacups,

her mother tells her:

“This is not your home.”


Her daughter pleads: “I came back

years ago, but you still see only

my father’s shadow.”


When the daughter is bedridden, hospital-bound,

her mother, through a throng of spirits

oozing from her outstretched lips, says:

“I must dash to a party because I want to…”

Her daughter mutters: “Have sex.”


And when the daughter moves to a foreign land,

her mother emails every six months;

she does not text because it costs

two pounds:

two pounds of hope.


A mother protects herself from

her love for her child.

She cannot bear to suffer loss. She

cannot bear defeat

to two palm trees and a sword,

and the guilt

of not rescuing her child

from a man who shackles and beats so


she cuts the cord.

Rat's Ass Review, Fall-Winter 2022 and website and Querencia Press Anthology, Fall 2022

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