//Behind Closed Doors

Behind Closed Doors

(The poem reflects the plight of many Afghan girls born in conservative families)

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Can you hear my silent screams
As they kill my secret dreams?
And if by chance you do,
Will you try to help me now
As I suffer silently,
Behind closed doors?

I was born one Jumma1morn,
A girl, an easy game for scorn; 
Plates of insults are fed to me
More often than any shir2or birinj,3
And I can’t complain,
Behind closed doors.

My Baba was a kindly man,
I was his Freshta4Jan5.
To my mother I didn’t seem to exist.
“Khodet Mushkil Asti.”6
And I wept silently,
Behind closed doors.

Baba Jan loved me. That’s all I cared for.
But, sadly, Baba Jan wasn’t always there. 
And when not there I had to bear my brother’s wrath
When, by chance, I crossed his furious path. 
But my cries were not heard for I was
Behind closed doors.

As dawn ends I hear happy sounds,
Boisterous boys on the way to school.
My soul fills with longing
To be at the desk with them. 
But girls don’t study. They linger back,
Behind closed doors.

Will girls ever get to learn, I ask Baba Jan.
Inshalla7is the only reply I get.
So, Allah, if you hear my silent scream,
Make real my hope-filled dream. 
I cannot bear to stay any longerIn this world…
Behind closed doors.

  • Tommy Vaz SJ

1Friday
2Milk
3Rice
4Angel. FreshtaJan is a girl’s name.
5Life or Soul
6You’re a problem (Pastho)
7God willing.