Skip to content


Ayesha Jafar

(after Ocean Vuong)


She doesn’t know my name.

I once howled at my bathroom lightbulb for 30 minutes straight
because I forgot what it felt like not to. Have you ever

had a cold that’s so bad you can’t breathe through your nose so you breathe through your mouth
for weeks and it goes so dry and eventually you forget what it was like for

your throat to not be scraped raw?

She calls her caretaker her daughter.

Up north, the mountains look like bad weather. A heap of empty women.

I’m not depressed, Doc, my happiness just comes with a lot of asterisks.

I s(p)in where the air is thin until I can’t tell if I can’t breathe for the absence of air or

the absence of life.

Dear God, is it blasphemous to want a legacy in addition to paradise?

The echoes are louder the further I go, my complaints hollower and the mountains, taller.

I am my father’s daughter, and my mother’s. The line of control
is a tug of war.

Huh. A partition metaphor. That’s not really fair. Poetic irony, I guess.

What’s that they say about burying trauma in memories? If you forget
the memories, who won?

There’s a poetry book rotting like old wood somewhere in a

cavern under my feet.

It’s called The Inheritance, and nobody will ever see it.

Ayesha Jafar is a Pakistani-Norwegian poet born and based in Pakistan. She is a full-time undergraduate student of English, trying to get her words to the world in between panicking about her studies. She likes to buy more books than she can read and loves postcolonial poetry, way-too-sweet tea, and terrible comedy. This is her first official publication.