Matilda, the only thing that escapes this closet

This poem is essentially about belonging. Sometimes, we don’t find it in the places and people traditionally associated with it.  We find it somewhere unexpected: like an online forum or a group chat made of strangers who become like family. The love you give and receive takes you to your destination, and in this poem, it is God.

is a teething dua: a prayer you feel flapping
like a bat inside your throat — eyes shrouded
but wings always molding into the spaces
between its Light’s fingers. in the support
groups which you scroll through like a greedy
locust, you are told you should swim towards
America because they must not love you anymore
at home. your mother tears off her hair every morning
and your grandfather spills boiling tears over the blank
patches in her dreams. you rest your cheek against your
birthland, its soil creasing into your dark circles like a
cheap concealer. you know then, like your father leaving
home at seventeen only so that he could look behind to check
if someone was kneeling at the threshold. he never gave
you an answer and you knew not to ask. so, you stagger softly,
wondering if a jaanamaz would fit on this dingy
steel floor. it doesn’t, but not every believer needs
a praying rug to clutch the air beneath God’s feet.

Sarah Aziz is a poet, journalist, translator and illustrator based in Kolkata, India. She is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in English Literature at Loreto College, University of Calcutta. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Voice of America, Mantis (a Journal of Poetry, Criticism & Translation housed at Stanford University) and New Delta Review among others.



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