The Muted Bride When a girl dreams, the spouse appears.

The falling sky has come to the wedding house
There is laughter everywhere
Salame’s palms are painted with henna
The Rubut ceremony is tonight
Everyone is wearing happiness on their sleeves
The bride, grieving in her room
When a girl dreams, the spouse appears
Dreams are scattered with ambrosia dust
She did not know that she had to come all the way to meet a broken bridge
The waves are calling her name
There are rungs to climb; but the ladder has been taken away
Her aunties speak about their nuptial nights
And how they shied away from their husbands
Her hands become swollen
Wheels of history are repeated
The bride of eighteen has become mute.

Salma Abdulatif is an award-winning civic leader and poet from Kenya. Passionate about her Swahili and Hadhrami roots, her work explores the connection between the sea and migration, the majesty of storytelling, identity, and the reclamation of souls. She won the East African Writing Contest and the Coast Essay Contest. Her work has appeared in Coast Women Magazine. Salma has participated in literary initiatives such as Honey Badgers, Bookmart, the Hekaya Arts Initiative, Creative Writers League, and the Heroe Book Fair. She also participated in a poetry workshop at the University of Nebraska facilitated by Kwame Dawes. Her first poetry collection, Dried Rose Petals and Lavender Buds, dismantles, disengages and disowns myths, misconceptions, and misogyny.

Cover Image: M.T ElGassier on Unsplash.