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my mother tells me of how

her homeland was once

taken over by those who

felt as though they

were entitled to it

simply because she

wasn’t pretty enough

to call it her own

i can’t tell if its my

memory or hers

when i see the

stare of a soldier

holding his gun as

if its bullets

belonged in my body

as much as i

was supposed to belong

on this soil

she tells me we are

blessed to have two homes

on both ends of the world

and i tell her it is a curse

to not belong to

either of them

my mother tells me of how

disappointed she was in me

when i had my land

get taken over by

a man who felt as though

he was entitled to it

simply because i was too

pretty to not share it

he left his marks on me

the way the bombs

left their marks on

my mother’s hometown

when she was learning

how to be a little girl

in the comfort of her

own bomb shelter

she tells me of how

she was taught to

avoid the men marching

around with big guns

and uniforms because

they always seem to

have a hand on

the trigger

i tell her it is

hard to avoid them

when nowadays

everyone seems to

conceal their weapons

my mother tells me

the biggest regret

she ever had

was to let her country

get taken over by

those who can’t even

seem to recognize

its beauty

she doesn’t seem

to realize it

hurts the same

even as they

whisper “you’re

so beautiful”

when they are


your body


Hinnah Mian is an award winning Pakistani-American poet and author of To Build A Home.


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