SWWIM publishes, celebrates, & promotes women, women-identifying & Femme-presenting writers through a Miami-based reading series & the online poetry journal SWWIM Every Day.

Astaghfirallah. May Allah Forgive Us. by Anjuli Sherin

A hard sun lights
a whirl of life
Dust hardly settles
nor does smell or sound
Worn out engines back fire blasts
while horse drawn carts leave behind
steaming piles of dung and white capped
men headed from the mosque, with
scarf headed women on household rounds,
drag school worn children with one hand,
while the other carries naan,
newspaper wrapped & warm,
ready for afternoon lunch

Thank Allah, for these blessings

She watches them,
haunches low on the ground
Brown desiccated body
leathered by the sun
One arm long, thin fingers outstretched,
while the other adjusts a scarf
white as the lanky strands
on her wizened head, while
a million lines crucifix her mouth,
four toothed, gaping wide,
a parched cry, calling out

Beta, ghareeb hoon. Kuch Khila do.
Allah tujhe sawab dega.
I am poor, son. Feed me.
Allah will bless you.

Their eyes so recently engaged with heaven,
fall to the ground,
accompanied by rupees,
more often with sound,
impatient, reluctant, indifferent, proud-

Maaf karein, Maaf Karein.
Sorry, Sorry.
Forgive us.

in the tightness of each heart
that meanest begging bowl
small coins clink out a
meager, persistent rhythm
not enough, not enough
it's not enough to
lift your hands up in prayer

starving they sit, sleep,
die on your stony ground
with eyes your same color
made deep with despair

O Believers, O Believers
this is not enough
to buy Allah's forgiveness.

Anjuli Sherin is a Pakistani American feminist poet and psychotherapist, with a love of sensual language and eastern poetry forms. She focuses primarily on spirituality, nature, politics and the human condition in her creative work, and writes poetry that is meant to be read out loud. You can follow her on Instagram at bibi_shayira or find her at www.anjulisherinmft.com

Marriage by Susan Bruce