Exploring Mother and The Quran as the Sea by Orooj-e-Zafar

Art by Michelle Lanter | Website | Etsy Shop | Facebook | Instagram | Tumblr

Exploring Mother and The Quran as the Sea

before we breathed, we swam. it is believed no memory
made in the sea stays. me, I remember the scratch
of turning pages well before I ever held a book. 

I was birthed with the warm date under my tongue, 
the azan whispered into my witness, 
a cry mistaken for help and a name holding
the weight of expectation on my barely boned shoulders.

I was born here, in the half-open eyes of my mother’s hope. 
sometimes, all her lips rolled at tahajjud was my name. 
I came from prayer, dream alike. quiet like independence day
never is. independent like children never are. 
concrete like the summer I breathed before. 

sometimes, memory snaps sharp: my mother turning 
the Quran page – her belly scratching against paper. 


Orooj-e-Zafar is a storyteller/spoken word poet whose work has been widely published online in places such as Quail Bell Magazine, Off the Coast, Rufous City Review and Melancholy Hyperbole. Offline, Orooj performs at local and national events like TEDx PIEAS and Islamabad Literature Festival 2017. She was also the recipient of the second annual Judith Khan Memorial Poetry Prize and the winner of Where Are You Press Manuscript Contest 2016. Her debut chapbook HOME AND OTHER DEBRIS is scheduled for release in July 2017. : facebook.com/oroojezafarwrites