Volume One, Issue 4

Peeled Fruit

Sara Siddiqui

My grandma often peels the skins
Off mangoes for us.
Imported from Pakistan,
Fruit of the motherland
Satisfies like no other.
We suck on them in silence
While watching the news.

When anchors rush to cover
A young woman in Pakistan,
strangled by her own brother,
My grandma says too much
Of her skin was showing,
That she deserved it.

I wonder, can you peel the
Honor off a woman’s skin?
Or do women spoil like fruit
When shame penetrates
Deep and bitter inside them?

But fruit are easily squished,
And women do not collapse
under the weight of generations
Of family honor pressing
Over their skin.

Peeling mangoes should be easier.
Pakistani mangoes taste especially
Sweet, my grandma says.
To me, they taste less sour
Than the American fruit,
But when their nectar spurts
Sugar sticky on my skin,
I do not hesitate to wash it off.

Sara Siddiqui: "I’m currently taking a year-long course on poetry at UChicago. I am also a staff writer for Blacklight, the UChicago’s student-run poetry magazine. Previously, I was Editor in Chief for the online magazine at my high school’s Feminism Club."

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