Dear Gul Meena

There are many times we feel stared at. In the earliest mornings of a day, it can be the sky that challenges us to a no-blinking contest. Try not to survey the study of colors– thick benches of blue floating. I can survive without blinking if the mood is right, if the words hold my lids up. Sometimes, we forget to look away because of its beautiful stun. The silhouette of tree branches viewed against the backdrop of sunrise will remove anyone’s breaths and replace them with poems.

When I first saw you stuck inside a recycled New York Times, I could not look away. And I wanted to ask everyone on the subway to leave, so I could be alone with you. You are already alone and I want to be the one to change that.

Fifteen times you were struck. Man treated you like a tree and tried to chop you away. Your brain childhood, love affair, dreams, thoughts, meditations are exposed.

In my country, we stray all the time. We make love against buildings and walk away from the aroma of temptation with our bodies still in tact. You ran toward the direction of hope and look where you’ve been found.

Someone needs to change your bedsheets. Someone needs to comb your soul away from its tangles. Someone needs to read you Rumi at night to soothe you away from the nightmares. Someone needs to stop these honor killings from continuing.

How to overcome centuries of murderous revenge for moral crimes?

Gul Meena, you are eighteen. And when I was eighteen, I was researching ways to die. No one needed to hunt me down; I was stalking my mortality each day, challenging its strength, laughing at its resilience. I bathed in poison, daily. I removed all welcome mats and when break-ins occurred, I broke, but remained.

Your limbs curl. Your heart swells and floats inside your body like a beating nightlight. How many kilometers stretch between us and if I could bring you a meal of poems and clean cells and know they’d heal your slowly developing scars, I would.

Gul Meena, you are able to speak, but your memory has leaked into the bedsheets. Sometimes memories are better left forgotten.

Rest in Jalalabad. Be still as new roots grow out of your limbs and skull. The healing has begun.

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