The Stele


the stele2

( 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.


    • Hi Michelle

      It’s nice hearing from you! Glad you liked the poem and deeply appreciate your comment. Thanks so much for stopping by!

      My Best

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Michael

      I deeply appreciate your lovely comment and am always appreciative ,too, of y our continual response to and interest in my work! I have long been an advocate for women’s suffering and rights worldwide, especially in countries and cultures where their dignity and individual identities, talents and dreams and suppressed by a r society/religion that devalues their worth/humanity.

      Again, thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!
      My best

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Wendy,

    Beautifully read, and written…
    You have a gift for giving true voice to those who lack a platform for their voice.

    I must confess, I had to look up Stele. Thanks for sharing your gift and
    thanks for the new word.



  2. Dear Craig and Sarah,

    Thanks so much for taking the time to rad this piece and for your endorsement of this poem! It means a great deal to me!!

    Please take care and stay safe,
    my best


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