I became a bride
then a mother
giving him female fruit, a daughter
and two miscarried children.
My girl is beautiful, perfumed
but dead to him
as the young child we saw
holding a pomegranate
on the Greek stele
. I loved the city Ankara
and gave her its name, its shadow.
He didn't even care enough
to care. He wanted sons
and my womb kept failing.
He threatened divorce
but the council said wait.
They determined that I had sinned
( in some way) greatly shaming God;
and we had to pray. Atone
through song, fasting and burnt
offerings of silk, parchment, hair -- all
I told him this was madness.
He said it was the wisdom
of holy men
precise and sound
as the geometry
in our courtyard gate.
I grabbed his knife
and ran into the garden. The almond tree stood
almost flinging its long
limbs into the light like a whip.
I cut off a branch, ripped its flowers
and came inside. I begged him to beat me,
flog my body until its breath
coughed out the flaw.
He turned his head and hinged his hands
together. They shook. His knuckles white
as the stone fruit on that grave
where something became touchable, moving
upon the immovable.________________________
So many women in eastern or older cultures are still relegated to subservient roles in their married lives. A son is almost a duty and if she cannot deliver one, she is considered useless, almost barren. Even with modern science available to prove the determination of gender rests with the male, it does not penetrate in some of these rigid and ancient societies. I wanted to tell this story from her point of view but also with a sense of strong character. She uses the word beg in a mocking way, a dare hoping to strip down her husband's pride and blame, hoping to touch some facet of his humanity, almost shock him into being aware of her and how inhumane this act is she is asking him to perform. As inhumane as his rejection of her and his daughter. The funeral stele inPomegranates ( in Hellenic art/belief) were considered the fruit of death as well as that of offering life. They may have represented on the funeral markers both a sign that someone had died and that the life of that person ( like the many seeds within the fruit) would wander and re-bloom in the dreams, memories and legacy of those who loved and knew them.
symbolizes the impermanence/permanence
of life and death, also how one's humanity is etched permanently in time while still having the ability to move
the heart of the living, generation after generation. And in her husband's
case, his cold disappointment/stony anger creates its own stele. What seems so
immovable may not be that impenetrable. Something deep within the stone
breathes, an echo of empathy and grief that longs to be released. Ankara