Kul

By FATIMAH ASGHAR

Allah, you gave us a language
where yesterday & tomorrow
are the same word. Kul.

A spell cast with the entire
mouth. Back of the throat
to teeth. What day am I promised?

Tomorrow means I might have her forever.
Yesterday means I say goodbye, again.
Kul means they are the same.

I know you can bend time.
I am merely asking for what
is mine. Give me my mother for no

other reason than I deserve her.
If yesterday & tomorrow are the same
bring back the grave. Pluck the flower

of my mother’s body from the soil.
Kul means I’m in the crib eyelashes
wet the first time they open. Kul means

my sister is crawling away from her
on the bed as my father comes home
from work. Kul means she’s dancing

at my wedding not-yet-come
kul means she’s oiling my hair
before the first day of school. Kul

means I wake to her strange voice in the kitchen
kul means she’s holding my baby
in her arms, helping me pick a name.

 

FATIMAH ASGHAR is a nationally touring poet, performer, educator, and writer. Her work has appeared in POETRY Magazine, Gulf Coast, BuzzFeed Reader, The Margins, The Offing, American Poets, and many other publications. Her work has been featured by news outlets like PBS, NBC, Teen Vogue, HuffPost, and others. In 2011, she created a spoken-word poetry group, REFLEKS, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, while on a Fulbright studying theater in postgenocidal countries. She is a member of the Dark Noise Collective and a Kundiman Fellow. She is the writer of Brown Girls, a web series that highlights a friendship between women of color, and her debut collection of poems, Today We’re American, is forthcoming from One World / Random House. 

Purchase Issue 14 here.

Debbie WenKul

Related Posts

bar bottles

Loss and Its Antonym

ALISON PRINE
I want to learn to write about the loves / that haven’t died—yellowed paperbacks / with broken spines, the stillness of the lake / from the fishing pier on winter mornings, / the people in this small city / I sometimes recognize on the sidewalk / a decade after our bar shut down.

June 2018 Poetry Feature

NATHALIE HANDAL
Because some words together / can frighten loneliness / like the lagoon moving aside / for the sea / Because you’ve chosen / the most crowded voices to hide in / Because you’ve chosen / the oldest wound to haunt you / Because I can’t show you / myself entirely