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Poetry and Medicine
January 14, 1998

Women Disfigured by Sulfuric Acid

Author Affiliations
 

Edited by Charlene Breedlove, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 1998;279(2):112. doi:10.1001/jama.279.2.112

Cairo, 1996

1.
If I'm holding a glass of water
and it falls from my hands
and breaks
he gets up and beats me.
If he doesn't like the taste
of the food I prepare
he throws it in my face
and he beats me.
If I don't iron the shirt that he wants
when he wants it
he gets up and beats me.
One of the women said
It's okay when he comes back
and beats me
it's better than him
going out on the street
and doing something wrong.
It's understandable
2.
What happened didn't only
destroy my face
my heart, too, was destroyed
even me.
No one wants to see me,
no one
one of the women said
after three years
after 15
excruciating
operations.
She combed her hair
in an ebony arc
over half her face
and said,
My future is dark, desperate
and unknown.
This is my life, she said,
I have to go on.

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