Ayesha Asad


Eid, Homemade

Ayesha Asad

This year, Eid will be grown
from home. Kufis watered in gardens,

bangles clinking
on streamlined wrists. Turquoise salwar kameez

glittering in windows, under rooftops. We’ll toss seeds in the oven
and baklava will sprout. For once,

the musallahs will dry up, no congregation
to irrigate it. Imagine a hall once throbbing with music

silent. No humming, no speech. No recitation
of the Quran. No Allahu Akbaru Kabeera,

wal-Hamdulilahi katheera. No imam asking everyone
to join in and raise their voices. No,

imagine a sky stretched
over a lonely park. Large barbecues

withered. Families who made Eid in restaurants
making Eid at home. Parties where aunties

dress up in sparkly heels and silver earrings
now memories of last year.

And someone will mourn their grandpa
or uncle or aunt or mother. O,

but imagine the songs
soaking through the houses. The street,

filled with noiseless hymns. The children, awakened
by the smell of pancakes. The people, with their prayer rugs

and prayer beads and sweet-sounding adhan clocks,
unified in worship. The bodies,

youthful and wrinkled, prostrating
toward the same direction. O,

the plants grow in every direction.
Date palms emerging

from summer soil. La ilaha illallah rippling the oceans
that swell our ghost towns.

O, the symphonies are waves
that flow into us. O, the people wash

their own bodies and offer them
for celebration.

space break

I Drove a Car to Venus

There was one afternoon
where it all clicked. I had risen early
and left my heart with my sister. We drove
miles past empty roads to find a flower shop
so we could buy a boutonniere
for my brother’s graduation. The trees crept down villas
and glistening white houses. Stones clinked
in streams, a man mowed his lawn somewhere.
And the sun was spangled
with beads of its own breath. And my sister held my hand
as I wept into my palms, her palms.
A palm tree swayed in the wind, dates untouched
and retouched. Mist swung its way
onto rooftops, leaving vines behind curled on
strips of soft yellow wood. Vessels of water
and wind. And the air
was like a song. I sang it from my throat, my diaphragm,
my hands, my feet. I ripped it from my skin
and sewed it all together. I watched
the goats dance to its rhythm
far, far away. I wrapped myself
in its drapery and let it burn
in the wood. I swallowed life
and forgave of it as much
as I could. I gasped
at the pain that survived, and again at the lightness
that dawned. A moment where I was weightless,
suspended on an interstellar line of gravity.
A moment where I found my space
uncarved, unformed, uncombed
by all but the light
within it.

Ayesha Asad is from Dallas, Texas. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in PANK, Cosmonauts Avenue, Reunion: The Dallas Review, Menacing Hedge, Neologism Poetry Journal, Santa Clara Review, The Mantle, and elsewhere. Her writing has been recognized by Creative Writing Ink Journal and the Robert Bone Memorial Creative Writing Prize. She studies Literature and Biology at the University of Texas at Dallas. In her free time, she likes to dream. She was born in 2001.