Time Clock Pointer Time Of Midnight Twelve O'clock

A Minute

a minute

i learned to make chai before i learned to make sentences
thats why i write in poetry
so i don’t have to write in sentences
eyes shy check
scarf on check
but hands still shake as i hand over the rickety tea cup to the mustached man, gaps in between his teeth pouring out an appraisal in a purr
as if i am his pet and he is my master

from the minute you are handed a fair and lovely bottle before your own milk bottle
know that you are living in a fragment
which leads to a run on that can’t be erased because it’ll leave pink marks on the paper you call your body

divorce is forbidden
when your paper is brown
and your opinion is silenced
when you are painted brown

you are forced to leave behind your own self
worth into a ziplock bag underneath your pink pillow in your mothers home
and fill it with a sandwich he can take to work

leaving behind your own voice in a mason jar on the top shelf your kitchen cabinet
and fill it with spices needed to make dinner

leaving behind the dreams you once had scribbled on a piece of paper in the journal under the creaky floorboard of your lightly dimmed closet
and fill it with baby formulas and grocery lists

from the minute we escape the womb we are reminded that we are from a woman who had been with a man to come to this minute where you must do the same.

brown woman
skin lightened
weight lost
nose sharpened

turn her around

dreams hidden
voice silenced
worth broken

i learned to make chai before i learned to make sentences
thats why i write in poetry
because it was more fundamental for me to be the ideal brown woman than write


while the sugar sunk
3, 6, 7 seconds
into the milk

i wrote until my hands shook as i handed the man the tea cup
and told him that

my ziplog bags are sealed.
my mason jars are closed.
my journal is locked.

my dreams are exposed
my voice is heightened
my worth is repaired

as should every brown women who has been told her self worth will only be measured when she steps on the scale with a man by her side

step on the scale with your dreams
your voice
your worth

and it will outweigh any cultural flaw. any stereotype. any man.

By Nusrat Ahmed