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fragmented woman

By: Mahirah Syed

Content Warning: This article includes mentions of sexual assault

You urge me to fight back against those who had and would again hurt me

and I reply

“I’ve never been a fighter,

it’s not in my nature.

Not in the flat of my palms or

the alcove of my collarbone or

even in the crinkle of my cheek.

But, eventually I will be 30

and there will be another girl that is 20

and I will be finally allowed to


You look at me with disdain as you mark me a defeatist. And maybe I am.

I have felt conquered,



devoured by almost all the men that have shared my body and my womb.

Rape and the eating of women is as old as father time himself.

Taking my supple and tender flesh and stowing it between their wretched fangs and gashing until I am the rabbit inside the frothing mouth of a cocker spaniel.

Chewing and


and chewing. Absorbing

all the pieces of me

where hummingbirds warbled, otters tread upstream

and where the gypsophilas grew with the willows in my uterus.

My tendons are mawed and mangled, as my fuselage of flesh convulses on pavement.

I know the honey of my breast and cinnamon of my pate will never suffice the yearning void in the bulging empties of the fiends.

The hard sharpened dagger poking

through their denim

which they bequeath to me

just as

the Greeks bequeathed a stallion to the men of Troy.

But I know that eventually my body shall ache

and wrinkles will be etched

onto my cheeks and into the furrow of my brow.

And there will

always be

a new girl with flushed cheeks


Bright scintillating eyes who have yet to

know pain.

She is the girl I weep for. She is the girl I once was.

I weep for my imaginings of faeries pirouetting amongst the limbs of the cherry tree.

Mermaids plunging beneath lapis lazuli seas and mushroom circles

adorning even green patches of land.

I weep for how I can now only imagine the numbing grip of your hand on my waist and

vampire bites on my hymen.

The one


that was mine was my flesh and

you took that too.

In a single swipe

I was left

alien in my body and alien

I remain.

With your desire, you demolished me to assert yourself.

So you tear me in half after half.

A fragmented woman

left to piece herself back together

part by part

and hope

Her stinging glass edges do not accidentally slit the veins in her wrist.

You can only stitch someone back together so many times and my aching joints and gashed fingers are so tired of working.

I am so tired and devastated by memories of you.

Fatigued from the memories of beasts who now have also become part of me.

A personal graveyard in my mind indebted to all the foul creatures who knew not how to love.

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