Seeds of Wild Rue (Espand)

Zuhra Malik

How to build a home
for those fleeing,
being, seeing,
a human being.
No guide, no book
for a people of poets,
just murmurs of prayer,
protection and poetry.

Espand bala band

We speak with our hearts
honey on our tongues,
it is not I miss or I long
or I yearn.
Our hearts speak for us,
our hearts burn,
our hearts tighten,
our hearts wish
a home insha Allah.
Weeks of wishing, weaving
words with worship,
rugs for thousands of years.

Ba ishq Shah-e Naqshband

Walnuts and dried mulberries
crammed in freezers,
baskets from the farm
of figs and farewells,
a people of forty days
of mourning and rejoicing,
ancestors tangling religion,
of Moses praying forty nights
tucked beneath mountains
teaching us. Rivers flow
like veins where I come from,
but there is no water here—
my mother fans the fire alarm,
already the neighbor’s fear.

Chasme eish chasme khiesh

Seeds of wild rue burn
in a home of smoke,
coughing evil eye in
the streets of Kabul.
Our hearts beat in one land
our bodies in another,
the ground beneath us
a home insha Allah.

Be sosa der hamin atashe tiez

For those fleeing,
being, seeing,
a human being,
seeds of wild rue grow
in a home of smoke,
no guide, no book.

Zuhra Malik is an Afghan-American writer and engineer based in Virginia. She has an orchid collection and a Bengal cat named Alpha..

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