We women of mystery
with faces painted white
are bound by twisted fate
that one cannot fight.
Bought and sold to a neighborhood’s okiya,
a debt to repay.
Our decisions not our own.
Even as children we cannot play.
Swathed in the finest silks,
nobody can see the scars of our past.
Our helplessness and anger turn to ice.
Love found here will not last.
What used to be a position of reverence
is now used to glorify a whore.
Our name is trampled through the dirt.
We will never be where we were before.
Mother sells us to the highest bidder,
giving little thought to anything but money.
The price of no longer being an apprentice.
The giving up of our mizu-age.
The last night of the week we take down our hair,
the final piece of our mask.
We must be strong like water
if we want to make this life last.