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"Arabic language is gender-oriented. Everything is either a “he” or a “she”, no “it.” The feminine words are distinguished with a symbol called taa-marbuta (a circle with two dots above it that’s inserted as a suffix.) The literal meaning of “marbuta” is “tied.” The tied circle obsessed me, more than any time before, in August 2014 when a market was opened to buy and sell women in Iraq and Syria and elsewhere online. The market was called “suq al-sabaya” (female slaves market) opened by Daesh (ISIS) members who considered women as property. They “tied” their hands and dragged them into the unknown. I had the chance to speak with some of those women who escaped and made it back home. In addition to documenting their pain in the non-fiction book, The Beekeeper of Sinjar, I reacted with poems that are included in this collection, In Her Feminine Sign."

Read Dunya Mikhail's full commentary in the PBS Autumn Bulletin. Join the PBS for more exclusive interviews and a year of thought-provoking poetry from around the world. PBS Members also get 25% off all poetry books.

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