WARRIOR POEMS

Raheema Khan shares her poetry about childhood and her mother with REEK perfume…

AN ODE TO THE BROWN WOMAN

they don’t deserve youcrawling in your anger – you scare them, but you empower us.it takes courage to express what many have never donegiving the brown woman a voicewe belong and we’re here to stay.being skillful, intelligent,that’s what got us here.your diversity report says different,but we know the score.we’re not ashamed to be brownwe’re enlightening you all . . .

FATHER

I wrote to you every day for six yearsPosted the letters on my tiptoes at the letterboxWaiting for a reply that never came.You can’t make up for that nowSo please don’t try to validate yourself with a title that will never be yours.Father.

SADDIQA EFFENDI

you taught me to survivei am a warrior because of you.

BECOMING

23 years on and only now I feel comfortable in my own skinyears of hating the flatness of my bare backthe lack of curve in my backbonehaving no ass

the narrowness of my noseparts of myself that stem away from ideal beautynot being able to see where I fit inperceived as being unfeminine becausea woman standing over 5’9” is in a place of dominancesomewhere I shouldn’t bethreatening your masculinity with my lack of delicate femininitybut years of hatred have offered all directions of thoughtallowing me to see my difference as something within my controlcomforting and beautifulso my beauty isn’t going to be shaped by youbut instead has given birth to a voice that will never be silenced

LIVING VIOLENCE

your trauma isn’t meant to be forgottenwhen you sugar-coat and kill ityou reject your experiencesaying no to the burning that finally led you to an unlabelled lifeyour individuality untainted by the limitations of realityremembering pain doesn’t always have to be violent.but forgetting it ever made you feel keeps it alive

KNOWING MY WORTH

my love for myself will not stop at the hands of someone who hasn’t felt love.you remain a specimen that is left to examinefor those that take joy in trying to re-piece people who deny how to feel.

MEDICINE

Tell me I’m prettyI crave your words.Not your touch because that’s pursuable,Making you utter what you’re incapable of satisfies mebecause you feel the discomfort of being forced to suffer.