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Fatimah Asghar, “WWE”

by Fatimah Asghar

Here’s your auntie, in her best gold-threaded shalwaar
kameez, made small by this land of american men.

Everyday she prays. Rolls attah & pounds the keema
at night watches the bodies of these glistening men.

Big and muscular, neck full of veins, bulging in the pen.
Her eyes kajaled & wide, glued to sweaty american men.

She smiles as guilty as a bride without blood, her love
of this new country, cold snow & naked american men.

Stop living in a soap opera” yells her husband, fresh
from work, demanding his dinner: american. Men

take & take & yet you idolize them still, watch
your auntie as she builds her silent altar to them—

her knees fold on the rundown mattress, a prayer to WWE
Her tasbeeh & TV: the only things she puts before her husband.

She covers bruises & never lets us eat leftovers: a good wife.
It’s something in their nature: what america does to men.

They can’t touch anyone without teeth & spit
unless one strips the other of their human skin.

Even now, you don’t get it. But whenever it’s on you watch
them snarl like mad dogs in a cage—these american men.

Now that you’re older your auntie calls to say he hit
her again, that this didn’t happen before he became american.

You know its true & try to help, but what can you do?
You, little Fatimah, who still worships him?


from an interview in The Adroit Journal:

Q: So, to start: What’s the best imaginary museum you’ve never visited?

FA: The best imaginary museum I’ve never visited would be a museum dedicated my parents and my family, in Kashmir. I’m an orphan, and my family was forced to migrate from Kashmir during the Partition of India, which led to the subsequent creation of Pakistan. I’ve always longed to know more about my family, my culture and my parents. I’d love a place, one single place, where I could walk in and gain all that knowledge. I don’t know if I would ever leave.

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