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  • Rashida Mustafa

Roar of the Muffled Whispers

Updated: Mar 23



I’m listening to my pulse each day as it slows down or rushes fast...

My breath as I catch it or throw it, the million times when I try not to show it.

All alone by myself, lacking proper sleep

Ruptured thoughts that my mind speaks

The ones carrying a tinge of the darkest dreams entangled with the coils of hopelessness we call daytime reality.

When the alarms in my head are silently screaming, and the heartbeat in the chest is furiously exploding.


What is ingrained in the brain remains unheard and unseen.

The feared remains unexplained as it was at eighteen.

I’ve heard the quiet noise in my mother’s voice

And it’s the only one my mind has heard too.


The roar of the muffled whisper, I call it...

The one that has been passed down by daughters of the silent generations, dare I say the stifled generations?

So We learn to lock them in, keep them packed in a box and buried deep within.

Our tone several decibels lower than brothers.

You see, that’s how we’ve been trained by our forefathers.


The quelling of ambition or death of an aspiration.

The sting of comparison, between the daughter and the precious son.

The solemn burial of choices- to stay, walk away, just a yes or a no.

The latent talent that remains unexplored-

To suit the culture, We shall put up a show.

Every move a crude dance of compromise,

Be it the food, clothes or our damn size.


The urge to close our eyes again and swallow the shame of not being able to break the chain-

And this is where the struggle is stuck

Squeezed between the rhythm and words.

The meaning of it all lost, mind full of graffiti

throbbing with deeply burning thoughts.


And so, even on the noisiest of days when the cacophony of car horns is deafening, and on the bleakest of days when windows rattle in fierce winds.

On days when the rustling leaves invite autumn,

And while seated on the grey couch, I catch myself softly hum...

I’m constantly listening to my pulse each day as it slows down or rushes past...

It’s the only way I know how to let the roar of the muffled whisper disappear.

And on a certain sigh, shed an errant soundless tear.


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