How We Welcome Wait for Winter

My sister jumps on top of me as I lie coughing in bed dries my cold hair, our laughter drowns the hairdryer. My father takes a quick look at his reflection and announces, beautiful. A shy chuckle as he swivels around to us. My mother says if you break something, stay silent for a bit. Even a glass lived a half-full life, held water, your breath. My brother can’t breathe in winters. Lahore is a hazy daymare – I sleep till there’s no sun, miss the rain to sadness again. I say a secret prayer for strangers who upload videos of the morning rain on Instagram, ignore the 443 unread emails. The shopkeeper asks me to let the dandelion go, it’s a living thing too. I see someone I once loved in a dream. I understand now, God, I was foolish to want. I will trust you more. I want to leave, like my brother. Change countries, the everyday- -ness of every day, trade good deeds for miracles, turn my body inside out. I squeeze gulab jamun between my forgetful fingers, the thick, sugary sheera trickles down. I stay silent, for a bit. I will trust you more. I can be a precious thing too.

Aisha Hamid is a poet and writer from Lahore, Pakistan. She is an incoming MFA student at Northwestern University. She was shortlisted by the Zeenat Haroon Rashid Writing Prize for Women, 2019, and received an honorable mention by The Berlin Writing Prize 2019. She is a Poetry Reader at The Adroit Journal, a fellow at Qalambaaz 2023, Pakistan’s first screenwriting lab, an alum of the South Asian Write Beyond Borders mentorship program, 2021, and the LUMS Young Writers’ Workshop’19. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Pleiades, Vallum Magazine, The Aleph Review, Yoda Press, and elsewhere.

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