Poetry: [Omens in the History of My Family]

[Omens in the History of My Family]

Spilled salt on a tired marble
floor was a bad omen in our 
household protected
by the pleads of women in the language of 
God. I was running out of luck but
forgot to say Astaghfirullah at the
sight of the ashen luck of salt. To be young 
was to have the privilege of denial. My mother

fed every uninvited crow sitting 
on the walls of her house
to secure her floating daughters’ fates. My
late grandmother wouldn’t let

milk escape its pan when boiling
to keep her falling family prosper. Our mothers 
learned to fight the unseen. Their battle of faith 
wasn't to redeem a victory; only for the safety of 
what meant the most. 
I flinch at every sight of crows 
assuming they’d peck at my luck if they’re hungry 
and never put the milk on raging stoves
in case they burned what is left of my family along. 
In our separate battles, they tried saving 
and I tried being saved. To be young was to
have the privilege of a flourishing

This piece is inspired by the faith of Pakistani Muslim women who, superstitiously, believe in omens—in order to protect their loved one. I only wrote it to channel my own perplexed emotions that hardly agree with their ideologies, yet we are aware how they still thrive somewhere in my personal values.

Collage photo from Harper's Bazaar Feb ‘17 issue.

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