My lord is the Most Merciful.
But he created me
a human.

I’m a woman
with limits
and I advise you do not test them.

The Bargain

He kisses with purpose.

As if every kiss is a stamp of persuasion,

A request for eternity-

A soft nudge

A cry

A plea

A last wish

He kisses her like he knows she’ll leave

He kisses her like he’s explaining poverty to her lips

He kisses her like he’s disclosing to her-

About hollow lovers, lonely nights

He kisses her like he’s convincing her to stay

He kisses her like he knows:

Tomorrow she will leave.

Your leather seats carry the markings of previous women

I read their stories with my fingers

That leather seat romance;

Some one night stands

Some love making with conviction

Others somewhere in the middle

Some soldiers

Some rebels

Some civilians

And somewhere in this car

I can still feel all of them

Can you hear them too?

What they never tell you

Is that the embrace of most of your lovers will feel the same.

That the clash of your teeth and the lunch on their breath is still

The same.

See, a woman is known to settle like rocks in a pond.

He says all men are dogs

He says what my last said

He sinks canine teeth into my breasts

He sinks like my last sank

A grab of the waist,

A tug of the hair-

And on to the next.

The Kitchen Note

Left the tea kettle on the stove.

Don’t trade for whiskey.

Warn me before

You have a change of heart.


Metaphor for Poverty

Poverty is overrated

and the 1% smells like

bread that’s been left-

in one place,

for too long.

How many metaphors can I use

to explain hunger?

Because we’ve killed too many Tupac’s and Malcom’s,

jailed too many L-Boogie’s and Assatas,

to the point where

I’m afraid,

we are









An Excerpt of You

Speaking of the stars, I sometimes look up to the heavens

And then the ground beneath me

And wish I could crinkle the amount of sky

God placed between you and I

So that your face would be feet away from mine.

I Feel You

There’s a feel out there

I have yet to feel

There’s a scent out there

I have yet to inhale

There’s a memory out there

I have yet to cherish

There’s an earlobe

I have yet to press between my lips

There’s a narrow of a neck

My breath has yet to graze

There are three words

I have yet to say-

In the dawn of our union

As we wade out of the pool of uncertainty

That we’ve basked in far too long

But far less comfortably

In the company of irrelevant people

There will be a time

Where we will play with the webbing in the early of each other’s fingers,

A time where we’ve memorized the scars that God placed on the bends

Of each other’s bodies

Where we will laugh in the face of intimacy because we’ve learnt it far too well

A time where even the interlocking of our toes is not enough to quench our thirst

There will come a time where the slopes of each other’s frames will become second nature to our hands

A time where our insides know no peculiarity to this taste we’ve generously given one another-

That time is a gift

I have yet to receive

These words are a poem

I have yet to finish

This love is a story

I have yet to live

My Father’s Hands

By Sumaiya Zama

From the day I was born the folks around me

Made sure I was certain of one thing.

I look like my mother.

It was said that I dipped far too long

And far too comfortably in her gene pool

Then my father could afford.

I even have the scars to prove it.


I had the audacity to loot from my father

One physical trait.

My hands.

Nimble fingers imprinted with apparent knuckles and palm lines-

Small pouches of flesh that cling to the undersides of my digits

That heat up more frequently then I’d prefer.

God gave me my father’s warm hands.

Sometimes I wonder why

Out of all the things I could have had but didn’t,

And of all the things I do have but possibly couldn’t

There must be a reason

God gave me my father’s hands.

A Poem About Anything

By Sumaiya Zama

My professor told me to write

A poem about anything.

So I tore open my mind

With my bare hands and finger nails

And let it’s contents spill

On to the lined paper before me.

I watched as my insides systematically structured

Themselves into stanzas-

Puddles of creative clot

That gave rise to anesthesia

This was my poem about anything;

A bloody mess.