Number 100 Million and One

by Anna Blanch on December 1, 2011

 Today I bring you a guest post from L.L. Barkat. L.L is a talented poet, artist, and writer. Her post explores the plight of vulnerable and forgotten girls.

resist the darkness

Sixty to one-hundred million women are “missing” from the world’s population. Among the living, many are oppressed.

I will never forget a picture I once saw in the New York Times magazine, of girls in a window display. Each girl had a number pinned to her clothing.

They were so young, and despite that they would be “otherwise engaged” throughout the day and night, they were sitting simply. One was combing the long black hair of another, like any young girl playing with friends. But this was no house of play.

Today, reading Forgotten Girls, I was taken by the invitation to write a poem from an oppressed girl’s point of view, a girl who knows not love… and almost certainly not God’s love.

As I began to write, I remembered the girls in the window…

“Number 100 Million and One”

I am the girl in the window
combing her hair twined and black
smiling so no one will know

there’s a scar on my heart that grows
in the night, when I lie on my back
I am the girl in the window

crimsoned with memories of low
men and high, bright keepers who track,
smiling so no one will know

even the wind, when it whispers and blows
disperses my secrets beyond the black
I am the girl in the window

beseeching the stars to silently show
a hidden path past wall’s slim crack
smiling so no one will know

the shush of my soul as it ebbs and it flows
searches for red silken ribbon gone slack
I am the girl in the window,
smiling so no one will know.

“Resist the Darkness” in soft pastel, by L.L. Barkat. For practical ways to help the forgotten girls of the world, go to Sisters in Service.

L. L. Barkat is the author of Rumors of Water: Thoughts on Creativity and Writing, as well as two spiritual memoirs and a book of poetry. She is Managing Editor for and Staff Writer for International Arts Movement’s The Curator.


This post is part of the 16 Days of Action toward eliminating violence against women. The 16 Days of Action is a global campaign founded by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership at Rutgers University, I’m hosting posts across the 16 days, from 25 November to 10 December. You can help by sharing these posts on social media, by taking care of the women around you, & by standing against violence against women.
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