before your hand falls down on her

before your hand falls down on her

Following on from last weeks poem, SICK! Festival presents ‘before your hand falls down on her’. As part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, SICK! Festival wants to help raise awareness on the issue and talk about the ways we can help support survivors.


when you hit a woman
you take away her innocence
I thought you should know that
because you did not know this before
and when one day you will create
a daughter
think about her as I am someone’s daughter too
and if one day you will create a son
read this to him


you said you never hit me
because your hand did not curl into a fist
but you have pulled my hair and they were from my mother
and you have squeezed my throat in the air thinking
that this is the way to strip a woman not of her clothes
but of a lucid tongue that lives in her mind
and that tongue is at least three generations old
you must have been a fool
to think
that you can crush a force like that with a slap in the face
or by pushing my body on to a wall
throw me not on the bed of flowers
but a hard floor
my love for you died years ago
stomped by a herd of elephants that you were moulding at night
from a dark clay

I forgave you
because a man that lets his rage
to run in his body
like you run a fever or a wild horse before it is tamed
is not a man at all but a weak and unfinished copy
of what manhood should be
his vulnerability is chained at the bottom of his skin
rotting quietly
turning sour

I pray for you from a distance
so that when the one after me comes
you understand
that a man cannot speak to a woman with his hands
raised in the air ready to strike
her womanhood blind

at the time you caged my mouth
and my insides
and when another one came
and he was soft and beautiful
I could not speak of you
the shame and pain that you planted in me
instead of a child –
was too vast
have you not realised that
my body was not a field
that you could endlessly plough and sow and rip apart
like an old coat

I am my own love now
but have you not realised
that every mark that your hand left on my body
was you putting a stamp of your own fear
all over my arms and legs
have you not realised
that the one who once loved you
drifted away from you in the boat
built not from musky wood and paint
but grief and surrender
have you not realised that
your mother did not mean to raise you
to install hurt in her sisters

why some men break us in these ways
have they not realised that
we are here to love
and softly cradle them to sleep?


About The Author: 

Kamila Zguzi, Born in December, 1983 in communist Poland to a Polish mother and a Libyan father. She obtained a law degree at a Polish University but never worked as a lawyer. She started publishing poetry on drawing from the parts of her childhood, girlhood and now womanhood. The writing was always there and now it’s all there ever was. According to Kamila, “Death scares me in the same way as madness and love do. All three make us vulnerable and at some points in our lives, most likely we are going to experience all of them. Singularly or at once. Quite possibly writing about it is a form of familiarising myself with the inevitable”.  
She is currently working on her first poetry book and her debut novel.  

*Image by Omar Zavala.

One response to “before your hand falls down on her”

  1. Carmella Stanbury says:

    Very powerful

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