The Burqa Issue. OF NOTE Magazine. 2016 The Burqa Issue. OF NOTE magazine. 2016 - Page 60

Remembering Fifteen By ROYA And I feel so young Pains start growing inside of me I begin to hear You have to have to have to I have to live with “have to.” I have to buy a burqa and hide the world under it I have to forget the sun To talk about the moon is a risk I have to wear clothes people choose The colors they dictate I have to live with negative imperatives: Don’t laugh! Don’t speak loudly! Don’t look at men! Shut up! I am bored hearing: “Don’t, Don’t, Don’t” I am fifteen and the boy I cannot forget waits on the street to see me with my burqa on the way to Lala’s bakery and gives me postcards of birds flying in a sky filled with freedom he knows my smell love is blind for him he lives with the smell of a woman. And Mama always says, be like other people, be like other people I wonder If I agree. 60 OF NOTE I have to learn how to bear the pain of being human the pain of being a woman the pain if Dad discovers the postcards hidden between the bricks of the wall the pain if the neighbor’s naughty son steals the postcards the pain if Dad says, never ever go to the bakery the pain if the rain washes the mud off the wall where his letters are hidden The rain does wash the mud away along with his words on the letter “I love you and I love your blue burqa.” But the rain can’t wash his love from my heart the rain can’t wash the pain from my heart still I keep my blue burqa in the museum of memos still I paint the birds with blue wings. and Mama still says, be like other people, be like other people and Mama still says, be like other people, and Mama… Celeste Hamilton Dennis Celeste Hamilton Dennis is an editor at OF NOTE and freelance writer living in Portland, Oregon. When she’s not working on her book of short stories or interviewing social entrepreneurs, she’s scheming to get back to her Peace Corps Guyana days. She occasionally participates in modern life and tweets at celestehdennis. 61 OF NOTE