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  • Akosua Biraa

You’re the god of small slaughters

I live

in a country whose sun is war

we keep rotating around its warmth

Here we all become towelheads, amorphous

fears praying to a brown god

1947: the cannons sound during

Ramzan & everyone holds their breath

We aren’t at war.

Just neighbors who like to kill each other

They asked for a map

& so I drew a line

no one knows the boundaries

bodies spoon like commas,


cast lines

across a liquid border & become


Everyone wants Kashmir but no one wants Kashmiris

how easy to make a word just a word

All the people I would be are dangerous

manifest destinied our way through the mac & cheese

massacring the scripture in our American mouths

this is the cost of looking the other way

when they come for us

This piece is composed solely out of phrases taken randomly from Fatimah Asghar’s (2018) poetry collection, “If They Come for Us”. It is a lovely collection of poetry that reminds us of how susceptible human beings are to acts of violence.

Asghar takes us through her personal wound of being orphaned, which is an immense pain that is only mitigated by her family formed out of love and choice. She also shows us the political realities of being a Pakistani Muslim woman and immigrant, especially in a world that is hell bent on a War on/of Terror.

This post is another ad hoc #ReadIt recommendation borrowed from The Library of Africa and The African Diaspora (LOATAD). It’s my final week at the West African Writers Residency Programme 2022, so trying to read just about every book in sight.

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