Ayesha Raees


I held the night in my throat gulp
entwined my fingers for promise;
roped until knotted until true.
That is how I turned my held breath
into mind scream, rattled each and every
atom to uncondition from condition.
Inseparably, my limbs still adhere
to grounded past, romanticized only because naive.
I woke to paralysis. A white statue on top of me.
My room full with a headless crowd. I was not alone
until I was. Events like these happen, never imagined
never overblown. I call it ailment and no longer
a ride to God for no prophet was ever a woman,
just a moan rupturing in mothered support.
Yes. The modern women are growing apart from need,
learning for once to prod our first new.
Look. My own dime. My own shelter. My own thirst.
But I cannot forgo all mothers that have been stabbed
and how often they torture my hands to pull out
their needles. Please forgive me.
I just want to live
in the sky. And this is how guilt parts me
into two rivers– misery and joy.
Every swim is not a save from drown.
But sharp are the rocks, even in erosion.
My lungs are laden with debris, encouraging a play
of sink, a game of anchor, a mock of fill,
won by a force that changes defiance to compliance.
I was told anything is possible, even love,
but then I became a third world first world roll
becoming undone due to labeled breast and skin.

Ayesha Raees identifies herself as a hybrid creating hybrid poetry through hybrid forms. Raees currently serves as an Assistant Poetry Editor at AAWW’s The Margins and has received fellowships from Asian American Writers’ Workshop, Brooklyn Poets, and Kundiman. From Lahore, Pakistan, Raees is a graduate of Bennington College, and currently lives in New York City. Her website is: www.ayesharaees.com

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