Woman Enough / Amna Shakil

It was Ramadan.
I got my period.
I didn’t have to fast.
Yet I ate nothing,
From dawn till sunset.
My mom was upset.
“Your brother saw you eating!”
I’m not woman enough.

I’m not very pretty.
I have brown skin.
I’m Pakistani after all.
I made tea.
For my family-to-be.
“She’s not very pretty.”
They changed their minds.
I’m not woman enough.

I didn’t wear a dupatta.
My heart is pure.
Dirty looks I have to endure.
Is it my fault?
He couldn’t control his lust.
“It’s your fault.”
I’m not woman enough.

We’re married.
I say no.
I’m tired today.
I’ve cleaned and cooked all day.
I want to sleep.
He is mad.
He tells me.
I’m not woman enough.

I’m autistic.
They tell me to act normal.
I’m not graceful.
I won’t find a man.
It’s not my fault.
But no one gives a damn.
I’m not woman enough.

I can’t have children.
He blames me.
He could be barren,too.
He wants a wife, young and new.
Maybe we could adopt.
But no.
I’m not woman enough.

They want me to become a doctor.
But I want to write.
My dreams are right.
I study medicine.

People love a doctor bahu.
I want to study more.
I’m not woman enough.

My daughter is smart.
She wants to make machines.
She’s pretty,too.
He wanted a boy.
She’s not a toy.
He’ll marry her off.
Lucky that she’s pretty.
If she gets a man.
Maybe she’ll be woman enough.

Aamna Shakil is an aspiring poet and writer, a feminist hoping to make a difference with her words.

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