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The spring snow
I want to feel your tongue and not the razor against my skin

April 20, 2007

I open my arms. I am Shenandoah, daughter of the stars. I open my legs and become Shekinah for you to inhabit my body. To my east you will find my right arm volunteering to hold your back and to my west is the left arm trying to remove the pins from my bra and position myself in a series of moves. I am real as real gets, as are these exact things you are doing to me while your thumb removes the lipstick so to kiss my lips. It is spring, snowing here. It is an interrupted season, like the texture of your trousers, trousers that are waiting to be thrown over the bed. Your hands are slipping under me to find the right position for our bodies and I move to discover the sensitivity of this change. You go down on me. I love the movement of your tongue yet I haven't met you. Not having met you beloved feels like a razor sitting erect next to me skin. A razor I say, and I bite my lips. How dare I compare my physical aching for you to the pain of women who have suffered from Female Genital Mutilation?

It is not even close. I remember my Somali friend with whom I worked in the United Nations in Islamabad, Pakistan. Four thousand years of Pharaonic custom was practiced on her. A custom that is still practiced in some Middle Eastern countries including Western Iran in addition to many African nations.  

There were many Somalis in Pakistan waiting for resettlement to the West. She was one. She was a refugee, a Qax in her own language. According to the Pakistani laws it was unacceptable of the refugees to pursue higher education. The two of us worked voluntary or involuntary from seven in the morning to three in the afternoon. One day when the driver was taking us to our homes I realized she is in pain. I asked her if she needs help and she told me there is nothing anyone can do to undo the trauma she had suffered as a four year old, and the pain she experienced each month. She was one of many victims of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) an act wrongly understood as an Islamic law. In her case it was the infibulation, the worst case of FGM.

The home surgery had involved extensive tissue removal of the external genitalia, and the inside of the labia majora. Then her labia majora were held together and stitched. Such was her fate so that maybe a Nin Hun (a bad man in Somali) who was also a victim and product of such misinterpretation of Islam would joyfully cut the stitches on their wedding night.

She lived across the street from where I lived. I would go to her home where her cousin the son of an ex-Somali prime minister would often come to visit his aunt and my friend. We would watch the latest videos he brought along and talk about everything we found interesting at that age. There were also days when my friend and her sisters tried to teach me to move my hips to Soohor Caashaqa singing, the way they danced to the Somali song. I felt I was turning into a seductive Somali dancer, a native but then I wasn't a native. I hadn't suffered from a FGM like they did.

I bite my lips and ache for you. I want to feel your tongue and not the razor against my skin. It is spring, snowing here. It is an interrupted season, like the texture of your trousers, trousers that are waiting to be thrown over the bed. I want to feel you licking me inside out. I need to feel your breath on my skin. I want to be stripped of the nights and grays. I want you to read me like centuries of women wisdom and lovers walking side by side by the rivers. I want to feel your tongue and my flame offering warmth to the shadows. I want your mouth to be my mouth's caretaker. Cut the thorns off me of this longing for you. I want to come to you all passion and summer sunny. Comment


For letters section
To Sheema Kalbasi

Sheema Kalbasi


Echoes in Exile
by Sheema Kalbasi

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