Editor’s note: This poem was written for International Day of the Girl, October 11, 2013.

Born in Afghanistan,
I am a girl, a dream
for my mother, but not
for my father.
My mother wants
to send me to school.
My father wants
to sell me for dollars.
I am a girl, a support for my mother,
a girl—shame for my father.
She kisses me—he beats me
for small mistakes.
She encourages me to work on my studies.
He stops me going to school.
I am a girl, who does not know
which identity is the one for me.
I think about being a doctor,
want to be free.
I am a girl who wants to drive when I turn 18,
determine my own future,
not be punished for my gender. I want
to be a leader in my community.
I am a girl with thousands of wishes,
a girl with lots of pain in her heart,
a girl with hopes and dreams.
I am a girl—human.
I am the future’s mother.

By Seeta