Mashaal Sajid

Women of my family live in 16th Century Florence

Palms laden with maps
of fate, ever changing railroads
of indecision, overlapping and dividing
me, like a split end now
a live wire then
My thoughts filter through smog
reside in my big black hair
and choke me, words caught up
in curdled nail-polish
lungs flooded with an invasive air
Suns turn into gangerine blisters
blisters in the sky
& moons are restless-
sighs, upon my skin
I miss the red-vented bulbul
and mauve morning glories
Women of my family live in 16thcentury florence
“can a woman’s hand really ward off the evil eye?”
“only if your hamsa keychain comes with pepper spray.”
I was taught 99 versions
of how to be a woman
wasted 18 years trying each one out
In my world, we do not wash the hatred
out of our ancestors’ bones
any attempt at refinement is sacrilege
gulp down 2 tbsp of ashes,
with boiled milk every morning
adds a layer of pride on our skins
may it may be riddled with demons
In a state of agitation I told my dream
‘there is no 13thhour’
The entire realm was fumigated and collapsed
we remained comatose for the rest of our nights


I got a brand-new view
In a mute avenue, lined with grape-fruit
where rattlesnakes guard
image-spinner arachne’s nest
A girl comes teetering upon
The abraded egg-shell surface
which covereth a terrain of
listless, sore-brained memory
Bobby-pins hammered into jaws
Keeping eve’s garter in place
Backlashing, turning tables over
blankets and bars tossed aside
seashell-gilded breath
& discolored flowers of youth
All smell of cherry balm and aftermath
A plague  A plague
In thirty shades
Who planted these forget-me-nots
Betwixt the fingers of my hand?
I’m a mad split sea
My will the rock of Gibraltar
The girl enamored
by briefly beautiful snowflakes
there I see wild mignonette
along the crematorium path
we are eight flower-pots
of skin and blood
& wrath and lust
Bittersweet nightshade rips apart
sanctity and white-bedsheet
The inn-keeper’s shoulder drops
sucking on a sugar block
In my fall I burn
Three feathered vows
& I turn into Simurgh

About the author: Mashaal Sajid is a 19 year old Pakistani Poet and Artist, her Poetry has been published in The RIC journal. Most of her work comes off as absurdly sentimental, surreal and melancholic, is somewhat confessional and deeply personal. *Note: See Mashaal's visual art in this issue of Girls Right the World!