Three Poems by Z. N. Pasha

Title: So I Think It’s Safe To Say

Everything comes to me too soon:
puberty, reality,
dreams of my father dying,
empathy and

So I think it’s safe to say I didn’t lace my walls
with oil and lighted matches,
unaware that you were stealthily arriving
and peeling my skin
backwards and upwards
at the same time starting feet first,
so I had a long time to breathe
within my shattered ribs.

So I think it’s safe to say
when men with appetites like savages,
white skin, empty, cold cold hands,
and frozen hearts, come upon you
with hands travelling too suddenly


you don’t think twice but act.
Newtons third law states for
‘every action there is an equal
and opposite reaction’.
So I’m not sorry if you
keep on insisting that this is loving
but all I can feel for you is pure unadulterated rage.

So I think it’s safe to say
the second an eight year old girl
starts to grow her mama
must teach her that
no man is good for you
and sometimes no woman is either.
That intentions are sadly,
not written on our foreheads and

so we don’t really know that
every eye grazing us, undressing us
is a Harvard graduate’s or a 15 year old hafiz’s.
So I think it’s safe to say
that our brown mothers must
sit us down when our nipples
start peeking through our muslin kurtas
and tell us that be wary of every smile
thrown at you irrespective of the relationship,
husband, father, brother, uncle, friend, cousin, neighbor, playmate.

So I think it’s safe to say jaan
you are not safe in your own bathroom,
or bed, or school, or bus, or your complex’s playground.
Because vile men linger not in shadows
but in broad daylights with white collars as their excuses.

So I think it’s safe to say
every woman must as a passage of rite
follow upon with telling others in
laundry rooms and in between
tips for removing period stains
and brightening skin tones that
every caress comes with a price.
That these greedy men do not do
anything out of the purity of their hearts,
that every desire is paid with
time, career, emotions, hearts, wounds or freedom.

And I think it’s safe to say
their worshipping at your altar
does not validate your existence or your body shape.

So I think it’s safe to say
within books of shared poetry volumes
and family secret recipes should be encased
the advice: “Armor yourself to your teeth
with Rumi’s poetry,
or your too faced eye shadow palette,
or your designer lingerie,

or your hijab and your quran,
or your worn to death copy of the ‘Adonis’s Selected Poems’,
or a qawwali on repeat.
Shield yourself with whatever
makes you feel at home and
safe within your own body
be them butterfly kisses of your lover.
Life is a war, honey, and if you think
you are going to get out of this unscathed then you are a fool.”


Let’s Create Art this Time!

You come with your defeated bones
And splattered wit
And I’ll stumble along
With my stains;
My ebony love,
Olive hurt
And saffron jealousy.
You can manage to scrounge
A couple of pills and bills
And bring along that blue
Take a syringe and
Pull it out of your eyes
And your gushing wounds
So we can together create
Our own palette of shades
And warmth that we can’t label
That doesn’t come from your broken family
Or your failed career in casinos.
But they exist just the same
So come my fallen warrior
We will together create murals
They won’t talk about in
How to Get Over Crushing Misery 101 classes
That will grace our museum of hearts

So I can tell the kids we will never have
How my tongue’s tip
Blazed under
Your blank canvas
And murky angry skies
That night we made love
With our synced eyes.


Pardesi (Foreigner)

Show me pardesi
How to shed my skin
The one that is the farthest
From you and your reality

Show me pardesi
How to let it fall
Right into your hands
Where I know we all
Will crumble into dust
And sins and raw flesh

Show me pardesi
How to love myself
When my demons
Come scratching at my wrists and arteries

Show me pardesi
how to lie
when the days are long
and the love too short

show me pardesi
how to live
when you leave
and my mess is pale.

Show me pardesi
How my kingdom
Is to fare when
Its knight will be gone

And the people come pouring from my feet
And my ribs
In rebellion
To our separation
And your desertion


Z. N. Pasha lives in an idyllic reclusive bubble. An emerging writer on the scene, studying for an undergrad degree in English Literature in Lahore. She grew up surrounded by dusty books and too many languages. So of course she decided to write about confusing narratives out of sheer boredom. She writes short stories. And sometimes weird poetry while avoiding finishing her novel. Published at Between the Lines: Silk Routes’16 Anthology, More Than a Single Story Anthology 2016, The Creative Truth Journal, Apricity Magazine Volume 1 and  the Stereo Stories.



Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s