their dowry is composed of stinging plants
and biting insects because these things are
all that they can feel in this world, really.

They scratch ’til they bleed most every night
and hope that everyone notices and scream
if anyone looks for too long or tries to suggest
that scratching was a bad decision.

They hold their bloodied bandages aloft in
the centers of busy shopping malls and they
announce that everyone is wrong because
it isn’t supposed to hurt when you scratch
that much.

And when nobody listens, they know
that they hare vindicated.

And God Forbid you recommend a different
sort of dowry.

Then again, at least their plants and insects
are readily available these days, else
these private martyrs would never have dowries
at all.

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