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Ramsha Ashraf: We were the daughters

we were the daughters

of the witches

who could set fire to skeletons

of the ones who wanted to crush

the petals of our flowering youth

to get their hands fragrant

we played this fire-game

but not all the time

we had our moments of transcendence too

we also had licked the sweat of the men

who could brew us coca beans

who could feed us bread,

we also had our territories of peace

with our men in our land of significance,

we were not witches but the daughters

of the ones who once had gotten bewitched

not because they wanted to but they were asked to.

unlike our mothers we knew the meanings of tenderness and


we could let our lovers use their bones

on our paper-flesh as pens

we could sip the stories from their lips

but we also knew where and when

to leave them deserted with their strangled isolation

haunting their no-more-lovely faces

we were the daughters of the witches

they forgot to burn in the wombs of their mothers.

Copyright 2019 Ramsha Ashraf

Ramsha Ashraf is a poet and playwright who lives in Pakistan. She has published a collection of poetry, Enmeshed (2015), and she was a 2017 resident at the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa.

2 comments on “Ramsha Ashraf: We were the daughters

  1. schalickj
    October 11, 2019

    It is a fine club in which witches brew. A grandmother assured me so. She was right. She was surely was one and, like the Japanese Fox Spirit, had some wonderfully crude country phrases to describe recognition of any sisterhood: “A fox likes the smell of its own hole”…. I never knew if she intended “whole”. I wish Nemerov were still alive. He would admire both you and your work. Cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fj Faizi
    June 17, 2019

    Amazing Poem Ramsha. Loved it.

    Liked by 1 person

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