For Dinah, Who Did Not Speak

He says he loves me,
and his gaze
quickens my blood.

Hush, he says.
His hands move, rough and calloused
against my perfume-dusted body

and my flesh rises to his touch,
and he loves me,
he says.

Wait, I want to say,
but he says hush
as he enters me,

takes my breath away,
and I have no words left.

Shame, they cry.
My brothers recoil in their sanctity,
their purity despoiled.

My father waits to bind me
to that man who whispered love –
seven blessings and I’m clean.

As if I’m broken, as if…
They all say they love me.
They hunger to avenge

the day my flesh rose to meet his touch,
when he said he loved me,
when I wanted to say wait.

When he took my breath
and my words
away.

Wait, I want to say.
He says he loves me.

My father says he loves me.
I think he
loves honor more.

My brothers say they love me.
I fear they
love vengeance more.

They fill the world with their words
and their desires
their lusts
and hate

until there is nothing left
for me to say.

They have taken my breath –
my words –
my love –

away.

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