You cannot love me, she said. You must not.
Why not? he asked. In God’s eyes, we are the same.
She turned away, sobbing.
60 grams each pebble,
4.02 kilograms of pebbles
Rained on her return to Bashika. Waited for her.
Shouted, Du'a, Du'a! At one elder's home she thought
She'd found refuge. A mistake.
110 grams each stone,
5.83 kilograms of stones
Pummelled her. Dragged her out, screaming, into the street.
Proclaimed her sin: self-pollution with an unbeliever.
Struck the first blows.
360 grams each brick,
10.08 kilograms of brick
Muffled the sound of her wails. Spit, taunted her.
Continued to pelt her, each strike revenging
A measure of her family’s disgrace.
730 grams each rock,
12.41 kilograms of rocks
Welted her in bruises, purple like raspberries breaking
Her skin, streaking blood and dirt and helplessness across
Her face, her legs, her arms.
One 15 kilogram
Smashed her skull and spine. Not enough, her crime too great.
Lashed her, already dead, to a car’s bumper. Dragged her
Through the streets. Buried her with a dog.
Exhumed her. Autopsy, days later, at Mosul's medical center,
Underlined an inconvenient truth: honor's killing had cast
A virgin sacrifice.