I am yours
(or, for my grandmother, who disowned me)
by marziya mohammedali
I stand before the naked bulb,
bare, as the day I was born, the day
you failed to arrive,
finding reasons, excuses not to come.
why would you come all this way
to be disappointed?
a girl cannot carry the family name
a girl is not to be named for a prophet
a girl is not to be kept, but given away –
and yet, you chose my name.
I form the word, let it fall.
it sits, heavy and comfortable
around my neck, no albatross,
but still a reminder.
even then, you knew.
could you sense a loss, that something
of yourself had passed down,
this invisible inheritance
of obstinacy, determination –
I wonder if that’s why you named me:
one strong-willed woman
forced to acknowledge
her unwanted heir.
it's not the only thing you left me.
I search for you in the blank spots
in the will that does not carry my name,
in the bitter memories of being cast out.
you are a spectre, slipping into view
every time I turn to the mirror.
you still live, breathe in the lines
that form these pieces of me:
Marziya Mohammedali is a writer, photographer, multidisciplinary designer and university tutor. (more)