Forgiveness: A Prose Poem


My head exploded, full of their talking, talking. They talked and talked and sold me. They  laughed, happy. I was sad and crying, had no power over this. I played, the child I was. I played, but had to go toward the life that would be mine. My head exploded, full of new talking. They talked and talked. I was not a good bride. I was not a perfect woman, because I was thirteen. My head exploded, full of their talking. They talked and talked and beat me. Filled with pain, I was a mother, but had nothing. I had forgiven, all of my life, move now toward my future, happy. My head exploded. My head exploded. I love my infant, my family. I have forgiven all—parents, husband, the government. I am happy. My baby laughs and I laugh. Life laughs, and I am happy.

By Massoma

This work was supported by the Fetzer Institute.


  1. Mary Guterson says:

    Because you have written these words, I have been given a short gaze into a life I would have otherwise known nothing about. That you have found happiness despite the obstacles placed in your path strikes me as an amazing show of courage and resiliency. Thank you for sharing your story.

  2. Dear Massoma: I’m not sure I have the words to say what I really want to say, but I have been deeply affected by your poem since the very first time I read it. I hope many people around the world wil read your poem, and think about their lives, and think about how much forgiveness they practice, and think about those things that they can’t forgive. And once they do, they should ask if those things they can’t forgive match the things you have forgiven. The hope in this poem is hard-won. You and your poem inspire deeply.


  3. Dorinda says:

    Dear Massoma, Your writing has touched me in a very deep place. It is very hard to respond to the line, “My head exploded.” I have, in extreme emotionally charged moments felt that happen. I have, in those moments felt the world slip and slide from under my feet; felt the air squeeze out of my lungs, felt my head pound madly. But never, ever, have I known what you have known, nor lived through what you have had to experience. So, now I put my hands to either side of my head softly with the hope that you may feel tenderness, softness & light. I can see your child softly touching your cheeks with love, learned from the love that you have given.

  4. An entire lifetime compressed into riveting prose.

  5. This is so powerful and beautiful haunting — you are an inspiration. Thank you!

  6. Margaret says:

    Dear Massoma, You words are an engaging dichotomy of beauty and pain. I felt a tightness in my chest as I read through the pain and reached out to feel the joy that you must feel as a new mother. I am in awe of your spirit, your ability to forgive, and your strength to feel love and joy for the future. Please continue to write. It was a pleasure to have read your prose.

  7. Massoma, your poem had me in tears. These were normal words but you gave them so much power. Thank you for sharing.

  8. Therese Close says:

    Dear Massoma,
    Your poem is powerful and moving. Your baby is lucky to have a mother like you. May you know peace.
    Therese Close

  9. Gloria Nixon-John says:

    Dear Massoma: Your story is particularly painful for me to read because I have a 13-year-old granddaughter. To think of her oppressed in this way makes me pound my fists on the table. We are all sisters, what happens to one happens to us all, and we must all speak up against such cruel and ignorant treatment. You will survive this to be a voice for others. I keep you in my thoughts and wish you peace and freedom to make your own life decisions. I will speak your name as I hold my granddaughter close dear Massoma.


    Gloria Nixon-John

  10. Terry Blackhawk says:

    Dear Massoma,

    I will not forget the drumbeat of your poem. I hope you will continue to write and express your joys and sorrows. You have encountered life, fiercely and head on., and I salute you.

    Terry Blackhawk

  11. Dear Massoma,

    This is such an extraordinarily beautiful, saddening, and joyful piece. I am so grateful to have read it.


  12. Dear Massoma,

    I am so sorry for the pain, suffering, beating, slavery, abuse, and sorrow you have endured in life! It should not have been so, for you or for anyone to ever have to endure what you went through. You are not alone. May your life be filled with many blessings and much joy, despite what you have lived through and despite the memories that haunt you. May you always be able to keep your infant safe from the circumstances of terrible things that were done to you.
    Wishing you the best,

  13. May you be a light in the darkness, shining forth and giving hope to other women in similar circumstances. May both you and your infant live in safety for all the days to come in both you and your child’s life. May you live to know and have such joy, peace, hope, love, and prosperity to far outweigh the weight of the terrible things you lived though. I don’t know you – I’ve never met you – and I may never meet you, but please know that on the other side of the world right now I sit and weep for your sorrows, and I hope your life from now on and the lives of the people you love will be filled with happiness and only the best. Know that there are thousands of people working around the world towards the goal that no one will have to be subjected to the terrible experiences that you have survived.
    – Katie

  14. Beautiful. Thank you.

  15. Dear Massoma ,

    I am in tears but your faith and the ability to be happy makes me strong as well. I love your courage , i love the fighting spirit and i love your ability to find joy !

    With much love

  16. Anonymous says:

    really liked they way Masooma expressed her sorrows and how strongly had been able to forgave the worst behaviors she experienced and to present as soul of peace and prosperity inside human sprite

  17. Dear Massoma. We are all listening to your strong voice.

  18. Alia Rezai says:

    Dear Massoma,
    you wrote a wonderful sad poem, but then after all the problems when you said I am happy, you proved how brave you are in front of the life’s biggest problems. Don’t ever give up dear.

  19. Kat Fitzpatrick says:

    Dear, dear Massoma,
    What a beautiful piece~it has tears filling my eyes. How your endured such pain and how you bring forth such love. I am honored to have read your words. Kat

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