Thursday, May 24, 2012

In Honor of a Young Girl

I absently sat on a bus stop bench,
As the San Antonio noonday sun
Baked streaks in my hair.

I gazed across the street and tried to guess
Where the old, wind-tossed newspaper would land next.
It had blown across the scorched parking lot, 
Beginning at the farthest end, in front of the garden center.
The yellowed, ripped edges of the crumpled newspaper
Fluttered like pretty ecru ruffles as the wind
Tossed it randomly
Across the searing pavement.

A whirlwind tore the front-page headlines in half.
The mangled first page of Section 2 landed at my feet.
I stared at the center of the faded page.
A black-and-white school portrait of a teenaged girl smiled back.
You could barely see a boy's class ring on a chain around her neck.
She was an honor student, the caption explained,
Just 16 the day she came home from school and died,
In what is known as an "honor killing."
She loved computer science and played the clarinet.
They found the knife weeks before they
Found the body.
Other school band members planned a concert
In her memory.

I leaned forward and reached for the dirty, dusty page,
Wanting to know more about this brief life,
As if my curiosity would honor her memory.
A sudden, hot gust lifted her face into the air
And out of sight.

© Judith C Evans 2012

Written for The Think Tank #98 at Poets United. This weeks prompt was "honor", and I wrote this poem in honor of those who have faced domestic violence.


Raining Iguanas said...

Your post will linger for a while, and should.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Wow, Judith, we both wrote about honor killings. I love the way you wrote this, watching the newspaper be tossed about, and then seeing the girl's face. So cool you told about the things she made her real for me. Great write.

Daydreamertoo said...

Oh how sad. Also in Canada along with Sherry we've been watching the news of the father and his wife and their son, who killed his three teenage daughters and their step-mother for being 'too westernized' He said it was a matter of family honour. They too were beautiful, with their whole loves ahead of them. How tragic.
This is so deep, filled with such emotion and images.
Wonderful writing but, such a sad, sad subject.

Ella said...

I love how you highlighted this lost soul~ Her memory being shown and lost again. The newspaper was such a clever way to bring it to mind. I can see it in sad! She is real, if tragic!

Well your imagery and how you guided honor~

Mary said...

This poem makes me heartsick. I also read Sherry's, which did the same. There is no honor in killing, and it is so tragic when people believe that there is. No young person should have their life snuffed out by someone who assumes the role of a wrathful god!

Judith C Evans said...

Thank you all for your kind comments. I should mention that this particular girl is a fictional character based on what I've learned about honor killings. Sherry, thank you for highlighting the very real events in Canada with your poem.

kim vallen said...

You are a great writer! Loved this blog!

Judith C Evans said...

Thanks, Kim! I've been neglecting this blog for a while, but I'm having a creative writing spurt! :)

Carrie Burtt said...

A beautiful and heart gripping write Judith!!

Kim Nelson said...

Judith, This is so beautiful. You manage to put the reader on the bench, feeling the wind, seeing the sights. And in such an ordinary setting, you introduce the horror. Isn't this how things usually play out? So well done.