I put my broom aside in the corner of the room.
I am not done; there is so much to do today.
Washing the rotten socks, coloring his muddy shoes
My hands are painful; the cold water washes away my red nail color
My brother’s suits are not yet clean, they think dusty thoughts.
Mom is angry; she shouts for me to hurry
I have to carry the boiling water so
Mom can make tea with sweet candy
She sets it in front of my brother, admires him kindly
“You are my future,” she says. “You are my wealth.
My son, you are the best!”

Mom looks at me and says,
“Daughter! You must work even harder
Because you will marry soon, very soon!”
My hands burn, my soul burns, my heart burns
I can’t stand up; I wish I could rest very soon
I hear mom saying,
“Girl, you will understand my words
Years later when you will be a talented wife
Your five fingers, five bright lights.”
My heart is blue, like my veil
I clean my tears

Years later, when I became wife of a husband
I understood. I was living with angst and anger
I was not allowed to think
Mom thought for me.

By Pari

U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Teddy Wade