red orange yellow green blue pink

Upon Finishing My Sisters Made of Light (poetry)

Upon Reading My Sisters Made of Light by Jacqueline St. John

Rage, rage against the “honor killings which have no honor:”

the niece chained to a bed and burned alive by her uncle’s hand
(her father being too frail to splash kerosene and light the match)
on the suspicion of her being pregnant;

the daughter whose father cut off part of her nose
(missing the whole, by interruption)
because she wanted to be a dancer;

the married woman stripped naked and stoned to death
for speaking to her male cousin in the garden.

The mullahs may call them kari, black,
but texts of anger and misogyny do not enlighten:

this book shimmers with beauty

and the steadfastness of souls:
lionesses of Punjab,
the rescuers, the rescued,

all the women who survived
all the ones who didn’t

and the man who answered Baji, elder sister, teacher,
how men could pray five times a day while Bilqis burned alive?
Men on the mats prayed because they did not know what else to do:
they, too, were afraid.

If Allah re-sent the Prophet
to show again the gentle ways
Mohammed showed with women,

would all the Ammis, Bajis, nieces, wives, and sisters —
Juliets of Pakistan —
no longer be sliced apart by their country
and men the Quran calls upon
to protect these sisters made of light?