I defy you to enter
this space –
power resides within
the lifting of the veil.
A woman becomes transformed
when riddled with bullets.
Look at my skin and read
what has remained silent,
hidden in centuries of dust.
A river of black flows
but it cannot be sexualized unless
I’m deemed forbidden, a wasteland.
Resist this honor killing.
Excess is a construct of artifice
testing allegiance to faith
or freedom.
Have you fantasized an attempt
to destroy this statement of beauty?
A day will come when
these naked lips will scream
not from fear but celebration.
Bullets adorning my body
have not been spent
I trace each casing with a memory.
I am not your enemy.


Artwork by Lalla Essaydi
Bullets Revisited #3
currently on exhibit at Des Moines Art Center

an Ekphrasis – words inspired by this art