He Asked Her…

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He asked her
If you were once what is beneath you,
Then aren’t your sleeves a bit too see-through?
Isn’t vulnerability kind of a joke to those who need you?
And isn’t victimhood a joke to those who constantly mistreat you?
Look, I’m not trying to make you read through-
-the comments on your profile
Really you don’t need to
Most of them are really low brow
And just not what you need to hear right now
You need to set your focus on here and now
Buckle down, buckle up, and don’t let your knees buckle
You’re not a baby anymore and life don’t let you suckle
“Suck it up and put a smile on,”
They say that as they pile on
Expect you keep the style on
The motor running, miles on
And never break that smile, mom
And never ever cry and sob
At how much you dislike your job
Cause you’re the one who’s at the top
You asked, so you could have it all
So never can you have a fall
Oh, maybe it’s a trap and all
Waiting for you to snap and call
Yourself out on your crap, and all
It seems what we want from you is to fail
To admit you were always wrong, and never strong and too frail
But you fight it out and scream and shout for your place
‘Cause “who the hell are you to call me a disgrace?”
She says, “I’m trying the best I can and every plan of mine is fine
And I’m a human being; between us, there’s no fine line
Or pedestal or ranking, you’re no taller than I
We’re under One highest, all your walls are a lie
So I don’t apologize to flaw-filled guys, you have no standing, sir
I’m a woman of what I do, not just a man of some words.”

So, as if he learned some sort of lesson,
He decided to stop asking questions.


This piece was a mix of emotions about many topics relating to how we talk about and relate with women today. There’s so much said from so many parties that messages often get jumbled up in the noise, and miscommunication leads to people feeling like we all exist on one side or another. This poem was an honest conversation from a man genuinely trying to sort out his support and encouragement for the empowerment of the opposite gender, while realizing and coming to understand that the conversation always has to include multiple voices (especially the voices of that opposite gender).

Jawaad Khan was born and raised in sunny South Florida to a family of creatives and Islamic workers. He went on to complete a film degree at the University of Miami, one year of improv classes (which he’s very proud of), and he studied Arabic and Islamic studies at various institutes in Dallas, TX, where he now resides with his wife and cat. He serves on the board and is an editor for Muslim Youth Musings. His first collection of short stories is set to be published in 2023.

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