and yet we speak.
Televised, eyewitness accounts testify
a girl at age 7 has her clitoris cut off,
the razor stained with her sister's blood,
upholstery needles threaded through
the flesh of her labia, sewing her up so that
(if she survives the infections)
she will be pure and small
on her wedding night.
and yet we speak
our throats taut with grief, we watch,
lips pressed, hands close to our mouths
in case we cry out
We did not prevent this,
it happened again today and we were not there
we did not stop the hand that held the needle and the knife
we did not talk back, we did not refuse to stand down,
we did not rescue we did not protect we did not try
we could have.