The Simmering Underneath

Millions of Islamic women
Held beneath the surface of possibilities
For the deafening tomb
Of shattered silence
To break
I am one of them
Those women
Held away from freedom
From a life of the maximum
Whispers, murmurs and mumbles
Float through the air
Taunting me
Accusing me
Of something I have not yet done
A soft prayer spoken in whispered, warning words
Reaches me
I will never forget
Those hungry words
Now I realize
When foreign women walk by me
Wearing red
It is my favorite color
My khimar
Black as a raven’s wing
My friends say green is better
Green is life
I like red
They say black is the color of rebellion
I smile and nod my head
Seemingly oblivious to the fact I am wearing
Now taken to the mosque
To be “disciplined”
Can’t they see
I am already too far gone?
I see the cracks
In this dystopia
An earthquake struck here
No one felt it
Only I
Am gazing on
The effects
My former life
Far out of reach
A mermaid lost to the foam of the sea
Choices made
Without segregation
Is it possible to change
A man of my own
Married for love
The wind blows
A butterfly by
Soon, that will be me
Millions of Islamic women
Trapped beneath the surface of possibilities
Struggling to breathe
For finally
Just one
Is breaking free



Maya is 14 years old and is in eighth grade. She has been playing the guitar since 6th grade, sings, and is starting to write songs along with her poetry.