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Javeria Hasnain


on the altar. When all the guests had left,

& the smell of tuna had wafted far off into the ocean

from where it came. No one truly knows.

I waited for you, even though I knew you wouldn’t come.

Can I ever escape being my mother’s daughter?

Hiding behind her red & gold dupatta, small & timid.

There is a light that blinds me,

but which I long to pursue.

I circumlocute, hyperventilate. Actions which can

otherwise only be explained as concepts.

God as taut, as tautology. God as a

tightening around my tongue.

My hips contracting, closing

an entryway. God as apology afterwards.

Each of us pining for Pleasure:

the oldest pre-Olympian sport in any book.

God as its trigger-puller, whistle-blower,

watching his rose garden wilt, petal

by petal by petal. Meanwhile, all

of us running & running & running &


Javeria Hasnain is a poet and educator from Karachi, Pakistan. She is a Fulbright scholar for MFA at The New School, NY. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Poet Lore, The Margins, beestung, and elsewhere. Her work has been nominated for Best Microfiction 2023. She is an alum of the Summer Institute - International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. She currently lives in Brooklyn and tweets @peelijay.

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