The women in our lives By Ayesha Usman

The women in our lives

After Cairo Mathebula

The women in our lives
invent lightening in their basements,
burn things they cannot keep,
slow-dance to Frank Sinatra
on Monday mornings,
to milk frothing over pots and
dirty dishes in the kitchen

The engineers of vulnerability
Our providers of secret strength and
our fortresses of hope

The women in our lives
tell us not to go out unless we need to,
to always keep our heads down,
loud locked away, hands wide open
ready for the giving
They speak in consequences,
take their turn to scold us
for our misgivings, practicing
speeches as old as century,
words woven into every female genome

The well-wishers of our society
Our ‘I-told-you-so’s’ and ‘what will people say’
Our noor in dark corners and our
witches of moon-magic

They are seen in
parking lots,
Sunday bazaars,
offices in high apartment
in our homes
arranging dinners and
in our aerobic classes
the women in our lives

By Ayesha Usman


Ayesha Usman is a twenty-one year old med student from a Pakistani town nestled between dusty, orange mountains. She believes in the magic of words and sends good vibes to anyone who happens to stumble upon her work.

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