- Akosua Biraa
You’re the god of small slaughters
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,
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.