(Un)loving

This is your could have been, I want to tell her. I packed relief for her – what you must bring to the funeral of your beloved. Mama filled her belly with shame. Her chest clogged with grief. No time or stomach for breakfast. Dawn broke, our backs bent double. Suitcases burst open. Car doors swung. Appetite for life clutched in each hand. We left. We left. Appetite for life clutched in each hand. Car doors swung. Suitcases burst open. Dawn broke our backs, bent double. No time or stomach for breakfast. Her chest clogged with grief. Mama filled her belly with shame; what you must bring to the funeral of your beloved. I packed relief for her, I want to tell her. This is your could have been.

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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