( For Anisha )
I became a bride then a mother
giving him female fruit, a daughter and two miscarried children.
My girl is beautiful, perfumed
but dead to him as the young child we saw
holding a pomegranate on the Greek stele in Ankara.
I loved the city and gave her its name, its shadow.
He didn’t even care enough to care. He wanted sons
and my womb kept failing.
He threatened divorce but the council said wait.
They determined that I had sinned
( in some way) greatly shaming God
and we had to pray. Atone through song, fasting and burnt
offerings of silk, parchment, hair — all my vanities.
I told him this was madness.
He said it was the wisdom of holy men
precise and sound as the geometry in our courtyard gate.
I grabbed his knife and ran into the garden. The almond tree stood
almost flinging its long limbs into the light like a whip.
I cut off a branch, ripped its flowers and came inside.
I begged him to beat me, flog my body until its breath
coughed out the flaw.
He turned his head and hinged his hands together. They shook.
His knuckles white as the stone fruit on that grave
where something became touchable, moving
upon the immovable.