A Poem by Neha Maqsood: Displaced from Karachi

A Poem by Neha Maqsood for TWSS Issue #16 ‘Crossing The Border’.


Raw black lines

cut out Karachi

from my heart


I’m not a refugee

didn’t flee

wasn’t forced


so then why

is this feeling



displacement could

also be from

the shahi halwai


if it’s cold in winter darling

you’re simply not in Karachi

home is where the heat is


Pista, akhroat, chilgoza,

lie in the glass bowl

Mama has lovingly laid out


I feel the stickiness of my skin as

the South Asian teacher cries

out about sub-continental history


But, Miss!

Nehru and Jinnah are

strangers to me.


I don’t know the women who jumped

in the wells

with their new-borns in tow

at the Jalianwala Bagh massacre


I didn’t see the blood-stained bodies

Nana and Nani witnessed

when they headed to a new land:



I am not this history

I am not this mass migration

I am not the 2 million dead


not in the mix

not in the movement

but a reader of this history


But darling don’t get your wires crossed.


This blood, this body

you see now

has crossed borders

has escaped colonial legacy


The melanin in my skin

carries more stories of escape

and  promise

then you know off


So then why, mama,

am I displaced

from sub-continental history?


reading the words

from up close

but living them

from ever


So far.


Illustration by Mae Farrow. 






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