• Asia Khatun

My Liberty

Born in a land that had hunted my mother tongue,

The place I called home had fed me half full,

But home had offered me liberty, you see,

Away from my mother tongue’s encroaching mouth,

She wanted to devour me,

Whilst home placed bread upon my father’s table.

Home told me my mother was wretched, and my father barbaric.

He pointed at my head and laughed.

He said to me,

Is this the liberty I have afforded you?

I felt him undress me with his imperial gaze as he had done my mother and her mother before her,

Buried back in mass graves but I lived to be studied amongst the stolen.

He pointed once more at my head and he said,

Take it off. Let me see my liberty.

My liberty?

Don’t you see your mother tongue has almost eaten you whole,

The plates on your table lie empty and your father stands starved.

And then I watched carefully as the pit of fire in my mother tongue’s belly

Fled up the walls of my home.

He began to melt, to drip naked onto the table — a table sprawled with lies only circled by beastly flies and centuries worth of unlawful cries.

The fire stared back at me and I saw that my mother tongue had been cradling me all this time,

She had been lulling me to sleep as home attempted to thrust his liberty upon me.

The mirrors began to liquify

And I saw what was mine was still upon my head

Draped like my mother’s and her mother’s before her and

Raging amber, my liberty wrapped itself around home like a noose

As he gasped for air, my mother tongue whispered something in his ear

It is Justice, I seek

The noose slipped and home lay naked like stone for all of eternity,

For that was what he desired,

And who was I to offer him my liberty?

By Asia Khatun