Gentleness Stirred

Striding through the gates of learning,
Wrapped warmly in her black abaya,
Modestly cloaked head to toe,
Not a hair astray, nor skin showing,
Holding her head up high,
Thinking of the future,
Arms laden with books,
Head in the clouds,
Lunch, television, studies, friends,
That is how her day will go
Near future, far future,
Blissful, brimming with expectations.

“Hey, you there!” thunders across the parking lot
“You with the black boots” the tone is raised
Oh, oh, reluctantly she turns,
Fear stirs,
Watches wrath unleashed.

The self-righteous, bushy-bearded figure,
Crashes through the crowds,
Bestriding his narrow world like a Colossus,
As his entourage hurries in his wake,
A raging bull on the rampage,
Seeing red as the girl flouts ‘convention.’

Necks crane to watch,
The crowds are in on the show.
He thunders on,
The police by his side
“Stop, your scarf has slipped.”
The tirade begins, gains momentum.

Head cast down,
Eyes to the ground,
Shoulders drooping
She listens,
Burrowing into her deepest self.

Has she missed a prayer?
Has she been a disobedient daughter?
Cheated, lied, stolen,
Beaten a child, an animal, been cruel to another soul?
What did she do?
Her scarf slipped,
An unforgivable transgression,
In the eyes of the Controllers.
Is that her sin,
Her ever-lasting humiliation,
Her major fall from grace,
Her offense?

The mind is strange, the spirit stranger yet,
The rebellion begins.

* Abaya is the outer garment worn by women in Persian Gulf

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Gentleness Stirred