(Urdu, Arabic: عورة)
By the time the angels intervened the ache had long fled the fields, irretrievable by then, and what it took from me was gone. There were no letters left to taste in the chosen language of God and only english was left to me, only english absolved me of what was coaxed from my lap while I looked away and through the window open like an eye over the bed. Desire made a door of me and I kept it ajar. In my mother’s house I revert to her body’s bloom. In her language a woman is what she shrouds, skin paling under cloth, a chamber of grit and two- lipped rooms. In the language of revelation I’m told this word is a slur, means defective or deficient. From navel to knee it marks me a garden to be raked clean by a husband. Vulnerable is a body beneath a body beneath a shared gray sheet. It was April, evening, one star glinting in the maw. I lay still. I didn’t bleed.