Escape or yet a prison?

I see a staircase leading to the stars; to his bedroom upstairs.

For far too long, we have been locked by poverty and war.
Between the bombings in Damascus to the backstreets of Beirut.
My father rents this dwelling; a garage where we exist.

I will be his bride tomorrow. Is this escape or another prison?
       Probably it’s both.

I remember red stains on white shirts. Once from pomegranates then from blood.
Once I was a princess, now I am commodity.
       Once I went to school.

I am sixteen and he is forty three. I will be his second wife.

I listened to a documentary in Swedish radio the other day about a family from Damascus fleeing for Lebanon where they had to rent a place in a garage. All the girls married, without luck. I just tried to imagine how it can be, but probably could just imagine part of it. Also check out some info here

Rochelle guides us each week in the process of writing our own fiction in hundred words to the same picture. We are Friday Fictioneers. Many many great stories each week.

I also link up to dVerse Open Link tonight, any one poem is welcome.



January 24, 2018

126 responses to “Escape or yet a prison?

  1. You’ve written a very poignant piece, Bjorn. I hope it works out for the girl. I love the comparison of pomegranate stains with blood stains – very dramatic. The way you paint the girl’s acceptance of her fate, her slender hope she still has, seems as though it could be true to life.

  2. So tragic, and to think we watch this unfold on the nightly news, on the radio, people with mobile phones with videos. Sometimes I feel the need to just shut it all off.

  3. What an incredible imagination you have Björn — and what a compassionate heart too, to be able to put yourself in the shoes of this reluctant bride. Beautifully written.

  4. Such a poignant and realistic story. The little girl’s acceptance of what is to happen to her makes your story even more powerful and heart wrenching. Beautifully written, Björn.

  5. I love how you’ve matched a matter of fact tone with heartbreaking detail – the povery, the violence, being sold into a thankless marriage. It makes the story so much more heart breaking. Wonderful Bjorn

  6. A vivid tale reflecting what some have to go through. It’s a life so far removed from what I know, that stories like this- and the documentary serves to bring it to mum consciousness.

  7. I especially like the proximity of stairs/stars, words with short “o” long/locked/poverty/bombings, and the “b” alliteration in bedroom/between/bombings/backstreets/Beirut/bride.

    Like everyone else, I agree that this section is excellent:

    “I remember red stains on white shirts. Once from pomegranates then from blood.
    Once I was a princess, now I am [a] commodity.”

    For some silly reason, the ending leaves me wondering what a “second wife” might be like … as opposed to a “minute,” “hour,” or “week” wife. Then I’m reminded of the song, “One-Minute Man,” and am left wondering if perhaps there is a connection. If it only takes a second, that is pretty impressive, I have to say.

  8. Very well done… and yes, I could so imagine this being a true story. I have to agree the blood/pomegranate comparison was extremely effective.

  9. I am always amazed at how you get under the skin of a character, Bjorn, male or female. It’s a powerful and dramatic story, and so realistic. The lines I find really effective are:
    ‘I remember red stains on white shirts. Once from pomegranates then from blood.
    Once I was a princess, now I am commodity’.

  10. The tragedy of child brides goes on and on. So deep in the fabric of cultures and such a dead end for the girls who are women before their time. Beautiful, compelling verse, Bjorn.

      • I’m not so sure. In Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc…Somali, the people there still keep this practice. Brides as young as 7 are not uncommon. As for refugees, they barter their daughters for a better chance of survival. Many children are sold outright for the survival of the larger family. And of course, this is seen so much in rural India still.

  11. The sixteen year old girl has the voice of a much older woman which makes it very realistic, as these young girls age far beyond their years by what they see and experience – a very poignant write Björn

  12. This was heartbreaking, the pain and so well-hidden. Those white shirts. Stephanie Sinclair did a wonderful piece (images) on child Brides for the National Geographic- too young to wed. I used to use it in class to give us all a sense of the complex world we live in and what we must be thankful for.
    You gave her a brave voice.

  13. My heart aches for people like this. I think a girl must turn off all feelings and thinking, much like being a slave. Often with these marriages come repeated beatings.
    You’ve captured her voice well.

  14. You did a wonderful job I felt like you took me there! A sad situation your poem could be a sister-poem to my Spurned. You have a talent for putting yourself in other’s shoes.

  15. That is just so sad, but how else can she survive in a culture like that, now her trappings of wealth and position have been removed from her. Left on her own in that situation, would leave her vulnerable to all manner of violations. I hope the 43 year-old is kind and doesn’t turn out to be a brute and her slaver.

      • Sometimes I hope that purgatory exists, where abusive brutes must answer for their crimes, although I would prefer more immediate justice for their poor victims. It is quite unbearable to think of the living hell some of these girls have to endure.

  16. This post made me appreciate the beauty of your pen until I stopped to realise this was probably true somewhere, someplace. Good write!

  17. The reality of this is chilling and you wrote it so well I was with the girl as she looked upstairs to what would be her marital bed. It must be a terrifying time in a girls life if she doesn’t want to marry the man she is destined for. With such an age difference and being a second wife I doubt she is going to get much joy and from what you later wrote I gather she didn’t. At least she was able to return to her father.

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