Oyster Boy Review 14  
  Winter 2001
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» Levee 67



George Elliott Clarke

She said that if she couldn't marry me,
she'd take poison.
We eloped—and Karachi exploded.
I was shot in front of the police.
There's a price on my head—
and I'm in constant pain
from the two bullet holes near my heart.
I was hit, I was wounded.
Even after I fell down, bloodied,
they continued to strike me hard.
I took thirty lashes.
They were proud of what they did.
Yet, they are Muslims, aren't they?
Not all killing is honourable killing.
One guy shot his wife in the back,
threw her starved corpse in the river,
and got quickly out of jail
by paying the fine of a water buffalo.
I fear an assassin's bullet at anytime.
I cannot live in Pakistan in peace.
They will chase and hunt us down.
Adulterers must be stoned
or burned to death, they say;
Kerosene is thrown on us
and we are set alight.
They put a match to me.
They burned me.
But first they hit my neck with an axe.
They tried to cut my head off.
That's how I lost most of my fingers.
I was expected to die.
I don't blame Islam for my plight—
just unjust men fabricating unjust law.
I keep on crying, though silently now.
I died six weeks ago.