Each of the experiences in this piece are real but they are not all mine. They are based on real things said to some of my friends who shared them with me.


I stretch and bend and twist and turn

To remove that unsightly body hair

To look shiny and smooth and feminine

And follow the paid photoshopped actress

Who makes a V with her fingers

Telling me, victory lies not within.

I stretch and twist and turn in bed,

Staining the sheets, guilty again.

Should have lied still.

I lie still, years later, his words etched in my brain;

You put that ‘thing’ inside. You’re not a virgin.

Tiny ‘thing’; sanitary product & crusher of egos.

I stretch and twist and turn and bend

My dreams. Ambitions. Goals.

‘Aeronautical Engineer’- I laugh to myself,

As I stretch the atta for the gol roti,

Teaching my daughters

To dream bigger than myself.

I stretch and twist and turn and bend,

My facial muscles tired

“You’re good at your job- but that’s it”

“Smile more for that big promotion”

Always too aggressive/too submissive

“Wear a skirt for that big meeting will you?”

I stretch…

Stretchmarks on my belly

Stitches on my nether-lands,

The weight of the world,

Twisting/Turning/Bending me still.

They encourage me to go on and say

“You can do this. Be a man.”


7 thoughts on “Stretch

  1. Shoaib says:

    I really hate how women are treated in our society. We all are responsible for it. Things will never change if we don’t change ourselves. For example we keep saying dowry is a bad practice and that it shouldn’t be a part of marriage and our lives but at the end of the day we don’t stop this evil from happening. Even if the guy says that he doesn’t want anything, the girl’s family members don’t understand. And how can they understand. They know if they don’t do it then people from our society will bully their daughter. Sick mentality.

    anyways sorry for such a long comment. I love your poem (apart from one line :p) .The way you’ve described it! Very well written Masha Allah. Glad I found out your blog. Looking forward to your future posts. 🙂


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