Ajnabi (Foreigner) By Ramna Safeer

Ajnabi (Foreigner)

Mama, I miss my language.
My tongue hits the roof of my mouth and
comes back homeless.
I am sad for Pakistan. Our home in the hills
is still there, Mama. Hussein and his truck of milk bottles
still pass our mango tree at dawn.
The tattered rope of your broken swing still
kisses the wind. In April, when the breeze makes the hills
start to whistle. Mama, the chariots all have broken wheels
and nowhere to go back to. Mama, I hear men
come home from the bazaars and see drones sitting
at their dinner tables instead of daughters.
I hear the daughters are going blind but the drones can see
an unshaven beard from miles away.
Mama, this ground does not taste sacred, this soil does not breed beautiful, this
house is little
more than skeleton.
Mama, Pakistan is the boy in your dreams,
sitting at the steps of the white mansion, between the
skyward pillars, his bare feet in a puddle of children’s hands.
Mama, I miss my language. Urdu asks to
sit in your throat, not near your teeth where it is easy
to spit it out. Urdu asks to use your breath,
so it can make nests of your lungs and
fly only when the nation is ready.
Mama, my tongue looks for a hook and sees only
dead fish. Mama, there are nuclear bombs being tested
in our jewelry boxes. Mama, I miss my language and
the smell of the mosques opening their doors
all at once. I miss the way bending your hands in prayer,
God or no God, Allah or none, teaches your fingers
the difference between let’s meet again and
maybe one day

By Ramna Safeer


Ramna Safeer is a pre-Law English Lit student. She is a writer, blogger, researcher, activist and perpetual coffee-spiller. Her poetry has been previously published in The ASUS Undergraduate Review, Atwood Mag and Words-on-Pages Magazine. Her essays and articles have appeared in The Huffington Post, New Canadian Media and The Queen’s Journal, where she works as the Editorials Editor. She is the founder and blogger at CherishChai.com, an online space that maps her journey to recapture her Pakistani, Muslim heritage. 

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