Giving and taking

A butterfly cinquain for Colleen’s photo prompt.

Photo ©2019 Willow Willers

Screen Shot 2020-01-21 at 17.54.15


her promises,

her story offered in

open hands, bared, indelibly


His hands are an unwritten page,

secret. He smiles, reads, takes—

her story is

now his.

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

16 thoughts on “Giving and taking”

  1. The timing on this is perfect, since I just went to a Pakistani-American wedding this past weekend, and my friend -the bride- had the most gorgeous henna designs on her hands and feet. Her family and their culture are definitely more conservative than mine, but at the same time, I didn’t have nearly the cynical interpretation that you do here. Having heard her talking about their courtship from the beginning, it wasn’t that different from any other young woman talking about the man she loves. Maybe it’s different now, or in America.

    1. I think it all comes down to having a choice and how you define love. It’s a tricky one to navigate. I know lots of men who claim that they deny their daughters any freedom of choice, out of love. They don’t believe their daughters have the wit to decide anything for themselves. They are the same men who expect mother and daughters to be busy in the kitchen while father and the boys watch TV. Fine until someone says ‘I’d rather not’.

      1. I’m happy to say that –although I know *of* such men, I do not personally know many who are that bad. At least none that I’ve kept in contact with after learning how awful they are.

      2. It’s a cultural thing. Your traditions might tell you that’s how we do things, but they risk becoming called awful if you persist in the face of a dominant culture that says, not here we don’t. Then you get a culture clash.

    1. Thanks Diana. I’m very cynical about ‘traditions’. They are too often excuses for carrying on practices that enlightened societies should have abolished. Don’t know about the Hindu hand decorations, but the North African women with tattooed faces look awful. Like branded cattle. There’s the henna that you can (eventually) scrub off, but the facial tattoos are indelible.

      1. Agreed. When I was reading about this, the symbolism of the designs were lovely for the most part. (Though any mention of “purity” stands my hair on end). And culturally it seems to be a “bachelorette party.” I don’t know if there are any deeper, darker meanings.

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