Rigorous
Volume Five, Issue 2



Wise Woman

Jasmin Kateri


I recall a feverish night in December, a night that forced my eyes wide open.

When I confronted him about it, he said, “I don’t remember, it didn’t happen how you say…” Over time, he had stealthily pickpocketed bits and pieces of my dignity. Not with his hands but with words that could slice and dice even the most rigid skin. For better or for worse, in sickness and in health, he flourished off of my back. Roots tangled down into my core, stifled by the crushing weight of always making sure that he was whole.

I’ve opposed to this life in the past, but the wise woman with rocks on her fingers advised, “For that man’s head to come undone, you must’ve been the cause. For a man’s head is only as good as the woman that keeps it rolling off.”

But I still recalled that feverish night. The wise woman scrunched up her nose, exasperated, “A woman is to be subservient, remember that the next time you dare to sing the shameful melodies that have dressed you in dismay. A quiet wife is a happy life.”

Later that night, I defied her advice. I rejected my daily dose of toxic positivity and looked down toward my feet. My bits and pieces left a trail, and at the end of it, I found him having a feast. Upon his plate laid the missing parts I desperately needed. Leg on top of leg, how he sat comfortably and at peace with his mutilated spread.

To love to honor, to cherish to hold, and to be both a victim and a villain is an impossible role. “It’s not what it looks like; nothing is as it seems,” he replied, shattering every rose-colored glass insight while gas-lit flames frisked my bones. Only to find a hollowed-out vessel with nothing left to engulf. He stood perplexed that I had the audacity to step out of his reality.

“From this day forward, for richer or poorer,” I cried out, “Accountability,” a word seemingly non-existent in his mind. I stood tall on the wise woman’s words that were meant to shrink me. I held firmly on my ground and roared, “I recalled that feverish night in December. A night that time was frozen, a night that forced my eyes wide open.”



Jasmin Kateri: “I was was born and raised in New York. In 2012, I relocated to Tacoma, Washington, where I held a job as a Senior Library Branch assistant. I would later move to Puerto Rico and work part-time as a Substitute Teacher at a bilingual school; however, I would ultimately return to NY. In New York, I became a Teacher Associate working with students with a range of complex disabilities and Autism spectrum disorders. I am currently a Professional Genealogist and am now a Part-Time Student attending courses through Harvard University’s Extension School. I am a devoted mother, wife, and dedicated to my passion for writing.”




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