Of flowers and women

A flower sits on her stalk,
Alone in her beauty
So you see her beauty
While strolling by
And decide that the best way to
Appreciate her beauty
Was to pluck her before my prime
Obsess over her beauty
Toss her in water
Till she withers
Before discarding her
Or preserving her in the pages
Where you keep dead things
Her beauty does not give
you a right to her petals

But we lay flowers anyway
on the graves
Of the women lost
Because someone thought they had the right to their bodies

Uwa, Azeezat, Barakat,

and the millions lost to GBV
And the millions with unmasked, flowerless graves,
Or the millions whose bodies are graves
For a dead soul within

We snatch flowers for graves
Beautiful flowers that die too soon

But do not mistake the flower
for a metaphor for women
Women are not flowers
poor songbirds in cages
Or pretty statues to look upon,
And touch without consent.
We have raised generations of men
Who don’t understand the meaning of “No.”
Who we excuse for not having the brain capacity
To deal with refusal.
Who do not understand that women are not objects
We should raise boys instead
To know and understand that

Women are flesh, blood, and tears
Women are people,
Hard as it might be to fulfil all

Women are not ornaments to
Decorate your life
And sit like fairy lights on a Christmas tree
Women are what they choose to be
And if you hurt one of us
We are your worst nightmares

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