Prologue To A Womanhood

By Hera Naguib

Because dirt, my uncle called,
wore my human face,
into the window
of the abandoned home
where the boy and I
beetled miscible, like a trick,
through the teeming dark.

Because I bared my spine,
its soft gnarls,
for his fingers’ drizzle
to stir
and pry away the alarm
a woman comes
to know is her body.

Because in dining rooms,
aunties gathered to unscramble ayahs
and surveille immaculate windows
for unscarved girls,
their ringed forefingers
always heady with blame.

Because I hastened, a flash,
a mistake of speed.
And no matter how many times
I summoned foot to foot
for the untimely symmetry
of prayer, night after night,
swarming like locusts,
gregarious as Armageddon,
came the apparitions: my uncle,
siphoned forth in the antiseptic light,
watching the boy and I,
like a sore expelled from the center.

Because how easily I believed him,
smothered for months
that dark room beneath
the arsenic trail of my own
isolate fault and heaps
of pistachio ice cream
I dolloped all over
my sedentary, my criminal thighs.

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