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

"De Puerto Rico: Un Ano Despues de la Tormenta"

Poems from Puerto Rico: Mara Pastor

MARA PASTOR
Navels end sometimes. / Before that happens, / the body draws a road… / to the place of areolae / where you will calm your hunger. / Origin of anthill / of white light that from me / will return to you to teach us / that a navel ends / when another is / about to begin.

Tom Paine

Bovine

TOM PAINE
I magnified the spine through a glass of water. Exquisite. I gingerly set the little spine aside on a plate, took another tentative bite of sardines, and while wondering whether you ever feel we made a mistake, felt a tiny spine adrift on my tongue. I shattered it under bovine molars ...

Nathalie Handal

Resurrection

NATHALIE HANDAL
“Why do you keep moving? / Because I’ve been given no other choice… / With what do you cross borders? / A notebook, a hat, a picture of Jerusalem and a poem in Aramaic. / What do you say when they ask you where you are from? / Nothing—the pain on my face is enough."