Duty of the Daughter

Duty of the Daughter

by Ainai Habtom

i wish to dance in the rain with a lover

wet my hair with the tears of the sky

let it frizz into its natural shape as i stare into her eyes

and i want a love that suffocates me,

its grip so tight i cannot think

i want butterflies that tangle my intestines

that rip and tear them apart,

leaving a gap shaped like their heart.


but when i look into my aboy’s* wishful eyes,

and he stares at me with his endless desires

i cannot refuse him.

nor can i refuse my amoys’** smiles as they discuss my future

and crown me as the best of them.

the child they wished for when they escaped the war

the example, the model, 

the one to fulfill all their hopes and dreams.

their whispers of my arranged future,

one with an ordained marriage free of all sins,

leaving my wings pinned to the floor.


vines of tradition wrap around me, first comforting then suffocating, 

trapping my wings under their weight.

all i can feel are the thorns of my predestined future digging into my head,

weighing down my hair. 

so instead of dancing in the rain,

i drown.