Qudsia Akhtar

Inheritance

My cupped hands carry ancient
lines of dark rooms dense with
hookah, chai, and mad men who
bang on the daff and chant

‘Oraat mard kor dosak mei lakae jai gee’. *

My cupped hands are fed, wed to
speculative phrases, bound in his
interpretations, fluent with
accusations. I am made of his rib
yet I deserve his spit. Ancient lines
of moonlit nights, prayers, and men
who gather to recite

‘Oraat mard kor dosak mei lakae jai gee’.

My cupped hands bear the burden of
hell, him, and hope. For my hands hold
the creation of sin. So, he points his finger
to the thick text of rulings, circling vague
phrases and says

“Recite: “Oraat mard kor dosak mei lakae jai gee’

“A woman will take a man to hell.

 

*A common phrase in Urdu used by many men and
influential imams to justifytheir belief that ‘a woman
will take a man to hell’.

My current thematic preoccupations are with describing and challenging my Asian culture in relation to religious practice, gender and race politics in the community in Pakistan and here in Britain, and exploring an innovative poetics. I have successfully completed a degree in ‘English Literature and Creative Writing’ at Salford University and embarked upon an MA in ‘Creative Writing’ with my focus upon Poetry.