Sarah Aziz

A Letter to My Sisters

You are your mother's daughter,
my therapist says,
and i blink—
because i have my father's eyes. 
In this winding brook, i was
born twice in 
acid ecstasy.

i am nineteen, my head 
is too heavy for my hands.
How do they do it?
my best friend says, maybe a roofless 
sky can taste sweeter than concrete.

i was three when i first met
another who had my lungs, but with five 
dozen more winters suffused,
But why does your voice sound like a man’s?

and when i tear 
open the insides of my palms, ribboning
around them in henna is
Nani. Nani. Nani. 

Clap. But, Grandmother, still i 
look away from your
betel juice-stained lips
only at nightfall, to embrace
you on this cursed street,
to fall apart in your arms
and ask,
how do you do it?
how did you do it?
will it ever get better?

Then your forgiving hands leave 
me in kerosene-pressed flowers
as i watch my father ask the driver to 
pull up the windows,
the crumpled fifty-rupee note 
in my hand burning under his gaze— 
the price of touch,
the womb of sisterhood. 

My sisters in 
My sisters in 
My sisters in 

Can you ask god 
to clap?

Sarah Aziz is a poet, translator, and artist based in Kolkata, India. She is currently majoring in English Literature at Loreto College, University of Calcutta. In 2021, her translation of Bangladeshi activist and author Pinaki Bhattacharya’s “History of Bengal: from Ancient to British Rule” was published.

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