Mid-Week Words

Bottoms up

You poured words into my cup
And I drank them.

Older sister, you handed me my cup of coffee

Every morning filled with opinions,

And you smiled.

You told me of what should and shouldn’t be.

You told me of tradition and shame.

Your smile masked out the blackness,

And I kept drinking it.

My kin, you charged my drink

Every evening with etiquettes and guidelines,

And I faked a smile.

I heard your tales of how to be.

I heard your tales of convention and guilt.

My smile filled out my face,

And I swallowed.

My predecessor, you taught me how to make it.

Every night, you laid out the steps

And I learned them by heart.

I followed your instructions,

I made all the right moves.

Your nod was a proud approval

And I held into my tight smile.

When morning came around

I poured words into her cup

And she drank them… oblivious
That they were chains in disguise.


My feminist father would never claim this identity…

My feminist father is ashamed of knowing;

what’s in the cupboards of our kitchen,

where we keep the detergent,

How to properly do the dishes.

My feminist father is embarrassed

By his love for cooking and lecturing me about it;

Be kind to you casseroles, he tells me,

Be gentle with your ingredients.

I catch the smile that tugs on his disproval.

My Feminist father feels guilty;

For not wanting to go out every night,

For preferring to stay at home.

He settles into his cozy corner,

We blame the cold for keeping him in.

Yet, My feminist father would never claim this identity…

Instead, it claims him.


One need not be a house to be hunted, 

One need not be a thing.

A body would do just fine,

A memory, a hymn.

When on your bed you fall at night,

He is there to tuck you in.

He lays there beside you,

He creeps under your skin.

Fear not my darling,

Hold up your chin.

When you wake in the morning,

He will have you still.

Rania Attafi is a feminist Tunisian poet. She’s a teacher by day and a poet by night.

Follow Rania Attafi on Instagram @raniaattafi

Coffee tip:

Not all decaf coffee is created equal. There are two processes to remove caffeine from beans. One uses a chemical to remove caffeine and leaves some nasty traces that enter your body with the java. The other preferred method that is more expensive is water-based. If you’re drinking a cup of decaf, ask how the brand removes the caffeine. Try drinking decaf that is water processed for your health!

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