Not with the longing of a bride,
But with the trepidations of one
Who is bought and sold,
I wait behind half-caste shadows
For one I have seen but never known.
Today I have come of age,
And I will discover
What my sisters already know.
Perhaps one day I will be grateful
For the choice that has been made for me.
In any case, it is of little consequence.
My body must become supple at his command
For fear of retribution.
The old women tell me that I was bred
For this purpose and, since I am here waiting,
I can find no fallacy in what they say.
At dusk, my mother washed and braided my hair
And rubbed me down in scented oils,
All the while extolling the virtues
And pleasures of becoming a woman.
She spoke quickly, but not quickly enough
To disguise the tears I heard beneath her words.
And because I could bear her sadness no longer,
I feigned a look of anticipatory delight.
When she grew quiet, I knew it was time for me to go.
I am here waiting for the heavy footsteps to come
To take from me that which I thought was mine.