When Salma, a young Muslim girl growing up in a South Indian village, was 13 years old, her family shut her away for eight years, forbidding her to study and forcing her into marriage. After her wedding her husband insisted she stay indoors. Salma was unable to venture outside for nearly two and a half decades. During that time, words became her salvation. She began covertly composing poems on scraps of paper, and, through an intricate system, smuggled them to the outside world. The poems, many of which are included here, describe the hardships Salma and countless women like her suffer in their secluded lives. Eventually they reached a local publisher who printed them. Against all odds, and in a direct challenge to the stultifying traditions of her village, Salma has gone on to become a renowned Tamil poet and influential human rights activist.