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I am Mama’s eyes
grey-black, glassy, distant eyes that belong
somewhere else
in someone else’s face
walking places I can never learn the names of, places
I will never visit, freedoms that could have been
mine in another lifetime
She is scattered; always
anywhere but here
Her life is an injustice. How can I correct it
Where do I begin. Which corner do I grab when
I too am anywhere but here
I too run off to places
I attend a million funerals everyday
I crunch broken glass between my teeth and wonder
why the bleeding doesn’t stop

Is this what unhappiness looks like—
a woman who is always scattered
scattered like chaff from sifted wheat
like dust particles hovering
like a million drops of perfume

Aisha Hamid is a feminist writer and poet based in Lahore, Pakistan. She graduated from the University of Warwick with a MA in Gender and International Development and is a Commonwealth Scholar. Her academic and creative writing both revolve around Pakistani women’s agency and the multiple meanings it comes to hold for them. As a woman living and writing in a deeply patriarchal space, she regards her writing as activism. She was among six writers shortlisted for the Zeenat Haroon Rashid Writing Prize for Women, 2019. She was also among eight writers selected for the residential LUMS Young Writers Workshop, 2019. She has been published by Buchleser Books and Rare Swan Press. Her poetry is forthcoming in The Aleph Review (2021). 

This video was animated/illustrated by Bushra Saleem.

As a visual artist with a degree in architecture, Bushra Saleem aims to deconstruct patriarchal methods of research and imagining, to answer questions attached to geographies of fear and fearlessness, and how love and empathy can be brought together through the means of magical realism. It is through sharing the untethered dreams, hopes and visions that she tries to bridge the now to the feminist future.

To view other content published in this issue, 17:2, please visit Vallum’s website.

Vallum magazine is also available in digital format. Featuring additional content such as: AUDIO and VIDEO recordings of selected poets, further poems, interviews, essays, and MORE! Visit our website for details.