A Basket of Secrets
He went with the women everywhere,
as a child, you stuck to, you grew with, you were next to
He learned to love their smell, the overflowing sweet, sharp smell of perfume, mixed with sweat when it was hot, sour,
under their long robes.
The sharp way they laughed,
How it used to hurt his ears,
but he got accustomed to the ringing, the way it went up and down
and while he was afraid of his father’s harsh voice,
the laughter grew to comfort him.
In the city they wore long robes, long scarves to cover their hair,
in case someone on the street,
who had known them before,
in the other country,
could remember the exact place they had came from.
He knew that people looked at them,
and most avoided them.
To strangers’ stares.
He never got accustomed to his father, and his father’s friends.
Around them so rarely they seemed like disease,
something you sometimes had,
but wanted to get rid of.
Quickly, before you got it.
Harsh voice, telling him to stand up tall, do the right thing,
keep an eye on his mother.
Be a man.
How could he? He could only see to her knees.
But you are the man
when we are out;
you are the man
repeating in his small brain.
Sometimes the women would take him,
with him to places where no men were around.
In the forest,
no people, just trees.
So many trees, so tall, the wind blowing through.
He would be scared for a moment,
remembering to be a man,
But there was nothing to protect against,
no one around.
No strangers staring,
no men looking,
at how he held his hand.
The scarves came off,
the long hair whipping,
round and round in the wind.
As he laughed in delight and forgot
to be a man.
They were so different out there, so carefree
the women seemed so young.
He wondered why they bothered to live in a world with men at all.
And if he could manage to stop growing
so he would never become one.
And could live forever in the world of laughter,
soft bosoms, and sweet perfume.