What Else Must You Bear, Bilkis?

If I had the heart,
To write of the atrocity
I would write of your pain, Bilkis
I would write of how you were robbed
Of your child, your family.

If I had the courage,
To look you in the eye
And tell you I am ashamed
Of what the world has done to you
My eyes would do nothing
But shed bloody tears.

Bilkis, my sister, my mother,
There is no word in any dictionary
To define your pain, your misery.
If only I could snatch away the past,
If only I could save you from monstrosity.

How wretched is this life for a woman?
Who must walk the same roads
Amongst those who wronged her so greatly,
Who must live in fear
While the culprits walk free.

I cannot write, my ink is changing colors
The page is becoming like your wounded body
It resembles the shroud you found
Stained with only pain, an undying memory,
If I could save you, Bilkis, I swear I would.

Zainab Fatma is a student of MA in English Literature.

Featured image: Bilkis Bano with her husband Yakoob and their daughter before the press conference in New Delhi on May 8. Credit: Shome Basu