Editor’s note: This is an ode to all the overbearing brown girls who have been told that they were too much. You are enough.
a femme Muslim , survivor and storyteller.
you, sharp-tongued, mouth full of worms
overbearing brown girl.
they say “no“ sleeps between your teeth
waking to feed on sheep with long tongues
5 a.m. kalleh pacheh.
you come for them before the mourning
they’ll never wake early enough to eat
you’re cruel like that.
they tell me you’re the end of every poem we never finished
a gaping mouth, hungry
a single word with teeth.
an ellipsis without a following
they hate how you always leave them
you rise to the stench of rotting bodies that live inside their mouths
you climb inside them.
wander their hallways
chew their gums, bloody
open doors, open cabinets
where do you keep them?
the women that came before
the women that never came at all.
twenty-two, I remember you
skin dipped in gol-ab, brown burning red
azoon in the streets of Esfahan.
i found you inside masjid-e shah
your lips pressed against his right ear, whispering I never wanted you
stand here, khaleh says, it will echo twelve times.
because once is never enough.