Back to Issue Forty-Six

Google Memories shows me vignettes of when I wanted to adult, and after


after Victoria Chang and Kaveh Akbar¹


It is late winter/ outside the frame my toes curl for heat/ in my night-black hair/ a yellow rose
is daybreak/ is archangel/ is revelation/ there are rosesto be snipped/ rebellions to be sown at every level
possible/ a cigarette sighs between my unknowing not yetmotherless fingers/ smoke lifting sea
to sky/ lifting innocencethe way I willed it to/ wild Insha’Allahschastened to maybes/ the
mourning of my forfeitures begins/ from an eternity of whitethe cursor blinks between tears/
grief spillsa volta from an em-dash & a heartbeat/ then more white/ more lab coats/ many
one-more pills with more milk/ more moon/ more bone/ each cracks like a fortunecookie/ so/
year-old death/ you’re no longer rattling/ I now breaksoundless as a swanof towel/ were
there more mothers to wilt on your way/ the wind stopseasing on the almond leaves/ once/ there
were seasons for mercy/ absence swells from incisionson raisins as I expel the seeds/ all year/
someone offers me such small violencefor everyday love/ I catalogue the offerings/ one-by-one/
many haircuts/ a departmental store/ a coffee shop & a boutique/ ungrow into a mall/ you think grief
tears down cities for forgetting/ for replacing/the low-fat vanilla yogurt/ long expired/ mourn
the living/ they tell me/ the ones who must build overthe empty bedsides/ look forward to
seasons that are now a tautologyof gibberish/ they have made no sense for months/ is it possible/
Level-Two begins at poetry/ because the poets all write to their long dead mothers/ in what is
rosewater and ash/ perhaps death is only a danglingparticiple/ tell me/ is it

¹ Reading down the left margin and up the right margin, forms the lines “It is possible to mourn grief. One year there were so many tears, the sea level rose,” from Victoria Chang’s poem ‘Love Letters’ (The Trees Witness Everything, Copper Canyon Press, 2022). The form is after Kaveh Akbar’s poem ‘Against the Parts of Me That Think They Know Anything’ (Pilgrim Bell, 2022.)

Iqra Khan is a Pushcart-nominated poet, activist, and lawyer. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Swamp Pink, Pidgeonholes, Denver Quarterly, Apogee, Four Way Review, HAD, Palette Poetry, Baltimore Review, Kitchen Table Quarterly, and The Bombay Review. Her work is centred around the experiences of the brown Muslim body, collective nostalgia and the aspirations of her endangered community.

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