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  • christine

Bride Price

I deliberately mixed up references rather than targeting any particular community. The woman is the one who pays the price of being married in many different ways, even in happy marriages they are subject to cultural restrictions.

You are a vision of loveliness

he said with fatherly pride.

But inside,

she sighed.

She looked in the mirror

she could see what he meant

but still inside,

it didn’t feel real.

He held on tight

as he propelled her down the aisle

and passed her

into her husband’s grasp

as she thought,

Why was it now

that he said such a thing?

Was it the thought of

that shiny golden ring?

Was his vision coloured with relief

now she was no longer

part of his brief?

Was her life never to be her own?

Perhaps if she chopped

off all her hair

and was as bald as a coot

men wouldn’t buy her,

own her with rings of gold

or honour bound

to use her, abuse her

brutalise and confuse her.

But now she was wed

what could she do?

Locked in a castle

of obedience and duty

no longer admired for her beauty.

She looked at the sweaty face

now at her side

with its lines and wrinkles,

with open mouth moist and stinking

of whisky, smoke

and decay.

He pulled her to his bedroom

in haste, and inside

she felt only outrage.

Is this what a face that

could launch a thousand ships means?

Then I’d rather not be a vision

was her final decision.

Before she grasped the letter opener

from the top of his desk

and thrust it through her heart

with no regret.

And as her sight faded

she saw his face

filled with a look of horror

outrage and hate.


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