Is the bride shy?

Is that why her eyes

do not meet his

through the sequinned veil,

 or is it because she’s told not to,

not to look at him directly 

not to challenge his gaze

by her mother

and her mother’s mother. 

Is it dangerous?

to stare back at strange men

Men who ogle

Men who smack their lips

imagining the what ifs. 

Do not avert your gaze. 

Bend your head down

in embarrassment. 

Stare back with fury. 

Show them the strength 

of the heart 

that beats beneath your breast. 

Just stare back.