A ghazal for this land

Photo: Shaheen Abdulla/Maktoob

They laugh when I say men can be exiled within their land,

Some run from tens of them on roads or in their minds in this land.

A fleck of country balances itself on a line drawn on the map,

Slacklining to prevent themselves being thrown out from this land.

On my birth dadi whispers a language that I can barely understand now,

Neither do I know the school prayer sung in a dead language of this land.

Our bodies are inhabitant but our minds have been sent to exile,

Being spat on his goat-like beard, grabbed & pulled down to this land.

Like a sunnah by Prophet, jasmine or rose attar misting from our pits,

But they may repel away when they sniff the eggs reared in this land.

If the pallor of our skins and the parched blood on soil are of same color,

Why place dishes of different shades to give food to the people of this land?

It’s a great country if you are not kicked in your genitals to quench your thirst,

If we die by their hands failing to hail, they stuff our mouths with soil of this land.

Every Eid I fear what if they storm our kitchen where the broth simmers,

Not the crisp clothes but the kafan is wrapped to bury us in the unjust of this land.

When they call love a deadly affair and make lovers love like clandestine,

Two lovers tiptoe in midnight but dawn shines like a predator on this land.

How many languages did they tow with them on their camels?

Unearth to find lattices of abandoned languages buried in this land.

A tree in Baghdad was left in lurch and as they took its fruits in their bags,

Zufishan, you are the seed who sprouted with others on this land.

Zufishan Rahman is a graduate of Biological Sciences from University of Allahabad. She mostly writes poems on her Muslim identity and is currently working on a collection. She posts a lot of obscure poetry on her Instagram @zufishanrahman