Rimel Kamran

Mama and Beti

Evening filters between the vinyl blinds 
Swallowing the cramped room in darkness
A small drop of moon our only lamp
As mama and I rest like wilted jasmine
Atop rich layers of cashmere and quilt
The bold scent of teakwood tickling our noses
As my arms are laced around her soft waist 
And my lips are tightened as a bud against her cheek 
The slow murmuring of prayer 
Rolling from mama’s tongue as a ritual 
A sweet marrying of diction with reverence 
I clasp in my throat as a longing hymn
My fingertips settled on mama’s cheekbones
Tracing each bulge and bend of bone
As if each curve belongs to the lettering of her story 
A story of how mama cupped anguish and hurt in her palms
And molded resilience to gift to her daughters 
A beautiful bruise is this bond 
Two souls birthed as a single flame 
Two heartbeats beating as one heart 
Mama and beti
Mother and daughter.


june hues yawn overheard 
pinks and yellows 
tinted with melancholy 
winds sticky with the sweat 
of the immigrants’ dreaming 
as mama sits on the front porch 
the smallness of her body 
clothed as a rose’s bud 
with patched patterns of pakistan 
laced around her limbs 
the glossy beads of a tasbih
flattened in the curvature of her palm
as copper rusted resilience
her fingertips pressed tight
against the cool marble of her chai mug 
as falsa bleed between her wrists 
the purplish nectar trailing her knuckles 
like the paths of her youth 
as the blacks of her eyes are fixed 
upon a swift caravan of ants 
tickling her flushed skin and
slurping the sweet juice 
with their greedy tongues 
yet mama does not hesitate 
to welcome these critters 
and offer her mere relic of home 
as she beckons the brutal bugs 
with the slight curve of her lip
and the gentle squint of her eyes 
making refuge on her skin 
her warm breath whispering
to the lone shadow beside
a hurting hymn for home.

Duas of a Troubled Heart

On the Turkish carpet, my mother’s fragile figure rests. Her
Prussian blue scarf wrapped delicately around her head, with thin 
Wisps of her maroon dipped hair gently shielding her eyes. Sweet
Vowels and syllables of the Arabic tongue slip from her scarlet painted lips
And spill on the glossy parchment carved with religious calligraphy.
Her slender hands are adorned with gold encrusted jewels and blossom
Into a vulnerable rose that is offered to the Almighty. Her obsidian 
Glazed eyes bear a well of honeyed tears where the wanderers of her
Soul traverse for a land to echo home. Her dewy countenance is 
Painted with noor and her aura is fragrant of sweet jasmine and oud,
Delighting the mosque’s tranquility. Her body begins to meticulously 
Orient itself with her head gently kissing the ground and her hands
Embracing the lush and velvety carpet. I studiously observe her grace
And devotion as I place my palm on her hers, becoming enveloped in
Her soothing warmth. Her niyat is pure and her sabr is admirable.
My heart begins to ache for an ounce of her patience and my soul
Pleads for a fragment of her exquisite love and reverence.
For what is more beautiful than the duas of a troubled heart?

About the Author: Rimel Kamran is a senior from Cincinnati, Ohio and the Inaugural Cincinnati Youth Poet Laureate. Her poems aims to build community, celebrate diversity, and share her Muslim and Pakistani-American identity. Her poems have been previously published in Blue Marble Review and The Weight Journal and her chapbook is forthcoming at the end of April 2023. She hopes to share her love for poetry with youth and encourage them to seek the unheard poem within them.