For Rohingya Women

by Crystal Stone

Photo by Tasnim News Agency via Wikimedia. Creative Commons: Some rights reserved.

Poet’s Note: I read this article about the Rohingya women in refugee camps in Bangladesh. Rahima, only 15 years old, was gang-raped in the Myanmar jungle in September. I don’t want anyone to forget her story. I want everyone to remember these images, shake their heads, and repeat her, “There are many things I don’t understand.”


The loose tooth of childhood did not bite,
it fell into the hands of the willing, making

room for the adult to grow. The toothed trees
of the jungle did not whistle or fall—that night

the wind slowed and the methamphetamine smoke
tongued the brittle bark. Her skin, new gum

for the men who held her. “I don’t know why
they bit me,” she said, touched the scar on her cheek.

I imagined the teeth growing right out of the gap
in her skin, now cracked, a skeletal moon glowing

over the jungle, ready to scrape the hazy hillside,
gnaw the flesh of the captors while the trees

who sat silent by her when she screamed, still
think nothing, their bark the hollowness of ears.


Crystal’s poetry has previously appeared or is forthcoming in Eunoia Review, isacoustic*, Tuck Magazine, Writers Resist, Drunk Monkeys, Coldnoon, Poets Reading the News, Jet Fuel Review, Sigma Tau Delta Rectangle, North Central Review, Badlands Review, Green Blotter, Southword Journal Online and Dylan Days. She is currently pursuing her MFA at Iowa State University and gave a TEDx talk called ‘The Transformative Power of Poetry’ the first week of April. Crystal’s first book came out in December 2018 from Dawn Valley Press. It’s called Knock-Off Monarch.

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