The color of love, her mother said

She couldn’t wait for the rain to pause,

Hurriedly she tied her slimy mop.

Her eyes glistering after decades,

For today she would meet her sister.

She had received a tiny note,

In return for the pages she wrote,

A place and a time to meet

Her only family, her only hope.

Crazily she ran,

Rain-drenched, her body was witnessed,

Hundreds of men watched, some laughed.

But little did she care,

Shame and modesty were clutched years ago.

Reached the banks of a village river,

This place would be memorable, she thought.

Rain had ceased  and a cool breeze blew,

Clear sunlight shone through the clouds.

Rainbow in the sky met her eyes,

Seven colors but the thick red,

Reflected in her soul.

Her own skin through the thin cloth,

Shivered in the chilly wind.

Red, she remembered,

The color of love, her mother said.

Red, she remembered,

The color of blood.

Red, she remembered,

The color of lust.

Countless times she had adorned the color,

Lips, nails, her body.

Even her soul bled, deep red.

Fifteen was not too young for them,

Forty was too old.

Twenty-five years in immense agony,

But no story to be told.

Beautiful face, an innocent child,

A goddess defiled by the demons.

Uncle had said it was for mother,

Brother had said the same.

Sold her in a foreign land.

But no one to be blamed.

Old woman waited beside the river,

Imagining the face of her sister’s child,

For sister was married to a handsome man,

Well-read man and an affluent clan.

A distant figure became slowly visible,

An old woman seemed to come closer.

Pale face, older with grief.

Her skin marked red with bruises.

Her eyes red and her lips white,

Sisters anyone could say.

She cried in her weak arms,

For her life had been worse.

Sold in her own land.

Defiled by her own man.

Five children killed in her womb,

For none would uphold his clan.

Would these girls have wished to be born?

In this world which is so forlorn.

Where their mother was kicked and bashed.

And their aunt’s hopes were snatched.

The two women cried for long,

Then laughed, till their faces turned red,

The color of love, their mother had said.

Morning came, they weren’t found,

But nobody ever knew they were gone,

Noone but the river had known.

The world just sings along,

Humming every popular song.

Seven years ago Sheeran painted  the sky,

Still too cold outside for angels to fly.

-Faraz Khan