Lament // Poetry

lament

I knew from the first day we met,
our wedding day,
that you would be the only man I would ever love.
You were gentle,
unwrapping my body like a gift,
exploring previously unknown pleasures in the warm nights.

Oh the sweet taste of persimmon on your breath,
the scent of tobacco clinging to your beard,
I kiss the roughness of your fingertips.

As the days turned into months, then years,
we lay together, but no child grew within me.
As my youthful looks began to fade,
I could see the sadness in your eyes,
and I knew that you would take another bride.
She is demure and respectful.
I cried when I was no longer invited to your bed.
Only six months and already I can see her belly swelling.
You look at her with a love that I thought was mine alone.

Oh the sweet taste of persimmon on your breath,
the scent of tobacco clinging to your beard,
I kiss the roughness of your fingertips.

I understand.
I have been all I can be for you.
My womb is empty despite my prayers.
I leave today before your child is born.
I cannot watch your child feed from another’s breast.
My breasts are dry, never to give the rich milk which nurtures life

Oh the sweet taste of persimmon on your breath,
the scent of tobacco clinging to your beard,
I kiss the roughness of your fingertips.

I leave before you can read the sorrow in my eyes.
Hidden in my burqa, you cannot see the turmoil in my heart.
I walk through the streets of Baghdad.
On my head, the chair that my mother gave me on my wedding day.
My widowed sister awaits me, and we two shall live and grieve together.

Farewell, love of my life,
may you feel great joy when your child’s tiny hand grasps your fingertips.

Carol Price
Carol Price is a retired Medical Practitioner, constantly fascinated by the infinite variety in relationships and how women across the world live with the burden of society’s restrictions. “My writing tries to reflect the complexity of different lives.”

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