How I Feel About it All
When we wash our hands this morning,
the soap suds grow gutter dirty.
When we catch sight of ourselves
in the glass of a passing window, slightly ghost,
our fingers will come to our cheeks
to see if we are still full, still warm.
I touched the hands of brown women today
and I felt their fault lines and I heard them tremble.
We laughed through our teeth
and exchanged small softness and found ourselves
in the gleaming centre of all this ruin,
healing. After all, we come from generations of
mouths managing to smile.
My sister comes home from Sunday school
at the mosque with her hijab balled in her fist.
She hangs it on the doorknob of her room
like a thirsty tongue, like a flag of bright surrender.
My Islam is a hundred women unfolding prayer mats on Eid.
My sister’s Islam is a hundred women folding them up again,
placing them on the shelves for safekeeping.
Today I’m dreaming of Pakistan
and what it must be like to see yourself everywhere.
Today I’m dreaming of strong coffee and strong poetry
and strong, strong people. Today I’m dreaming of
blankets and the eyes of my friends
and tomorrow. I’m not glad to be here right now,
but I’m dreaming that I’m glad to be alive.
I’m glad we are breathing.
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.