analog photography //

my sister says the way I talk to her on phone is poetic

what she really meant was that the way I talk about you

break my sentences to giggle every few seconds

hide behind metaphors and purse my lips

or trap the syllables between my teeth

so that I don’t run of breath, but I always do

or how I borrow words from all the memories I wish we had made

it sounds like a poem, it sounds like you

it sounds like someone in love, but it also means that I need help




I am…

I don’t like how undeserving I think I am of space and how so little of it I take. If I think I am taking more space than I can fit myself in, it neither feels right nor mine. I keep shrinking.

I don’t like how I keep finding new ways to love but none of them are ever enough for someone to reciprocate.

I don’t like how easily I forgive. I hate how hard it is for me to fall out of love.

I don’t like how casually I was made to believe that it’s okay to love more…

my beautiful is hanging loose
on an overused thread of incognito
in a room full of broken mirrors
with everyone who’s beautiful too
in ways she couldn’t understand
like my mom and sister who were really pretty
but they weren’t like us
like me, or my fat friend

my beautiful is baffled and lost
the lights go out, she twirls
sun sets, she feels free
she inches forwards, someone screams
my beautiful is clumsy too
she always oversteps her space
my beautiful, learn to stay in limits
the ribcage can grow no more

my beautiful is dangerously curious
she extends…

Kinza Khan

a flower for the stranger I fell in love with. It’s wilting

a flower for every time I turned 10 and relived every moment I have been running away from. It is similar to all the flowers growing in our garden.

a flower for every time I waited for people to say that they love me. It is anchored to the nails clawing my insides.

a flower for the friend I couldn’t save. it grows an inch everyday

a flower for every time I said words I didn’t mean. It’s the wildest.

a flower for the person I couldn’t love back. It keeps growing back.

a flower for everything I have broken including tv remotes and bones, mostly my own. It’s a requiem for everything I couldn’t repair.

a flower for every time I lost God. It’s the heaviest.


Amma knows how to make wheat into bread or how to squeeze anger into fists and tame it until it’s palatable.
My sister and I are foreign to both and that’s how I want it to be, she always says. And I am not sure why she says this.
Does she want us to stop molding our anger into shapes easy to devour so every time a man tries to get hold of it, he can feel himself choking on it, or maybe she wants us to stop shrinking our anger into the size of a teaspoon so men can stop using…

Amna ilyas

Dear God,

whoever you’re, wherever you’re. howsoever you’re I just hope you haven’t stopped listening to us, to my friend writhing in pain and to that child, beholding the worlds, I saw a few days ago because if you have, I promise I am going to visit every prayer hall that inhabits an eternity of wails, of prayers tethered to the tip of our tongues, every corner where I have left a piece of my heart and everywhere you live including, all the palms I have held in fear and called your name, all the spirits I have touched, and…


back home, we don’t sit next to eachother
or do anything that makes truth a little too audible
back home, we sit far enough to fill the spaces
between us with all the years that have passed by
making us believe that the lesser you know the better
back home, we keep wondering why the walls keep getting closer

back home, we always keep things in pairs
and never let our lasts be our end
like my mom always keeps a pair of wallet
if you open one and find out there’s only a hundred left
she will tell you, there’s a lot in…

when the fort of resilience and my worn out hopes start tumbling down
the dreams I put next to the stars
turn into moondust
the madness in the heart of the moon breaks free
the faith I left on a mountain’s peak forgets it way back to me
when the echoes of the screams I let out
begin to reverberate in empty rooms
and when I am tired but you’re more
of our harrowing tales that you lived
of the anger we channeled but you consumed
of the negligence that we mastered but you held
Dear earth, remind me how a dream lives, a life continues for everytime I let a…

if a boy tells me that he loves me
I will ask him if I remind him of his mother
of the fists he buried all his guilt and regrets in
of the hands that carry the weight of his sins
and if this is why he doesn’t like holding my hand anymore

if a boy tells me that he loves me
I will ask him if I remind him of the holiness
where his fists dig deeper than love ever can
when I close my eyes and swallow the night
if he can see full moons shrinking to crescents overnight
and how I turn…

I never find the right things, never did and there’s a slight chance that I ever will
there is so much wrong, so many wrongs always overgrowing the size of shadows I want to leave behind
sometimes slipping from my pockets, but mostly from my hands which are always too full of them
so I keep my hands closed like the door to your house, careful not to drop love at my feet but at your door
on the way back I always have more things if not better to hold, always wrong things to hold onto
but I never find the right things, never…


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