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Saunth, sauf, sarso bought near a baagh in Urdu, 

English being too heavy on the tongue, mother cooks saag in Urdu.

Aleef for ashq, asbaab; meem for mazloom.

In language, mother mothers horror, her voice cracks in Urdu.

Austen, Bronte, Woolf are too far-fetched a dream, 

Parveen Shakir is what she stacks in Urdu.

Mother presses father’s clothes but piles hers up on shelves.

Often mother wraps grief in plastic bags in Urdu.

Mother has a shauhar in all flesh and bones,

A lover is what she lacks in Urdu.

Mother’s devotion drifts through air at the crack of every dawn.

She bleeds the ghosts and knits them in cotton racks in Urdu.

Mother curses scalp, calls her ageing skin a diseased map.

She will dig herself a grave; won’t cut herself a slack in Urdu.

Cheap labour, choice poverty, barred in her own body.

The canvas of inheritance is all-black in Urdu.

Mother believes to have too many births in the past,

In not even one could she reclaim her tongue back in Urdu.

Sehar is a poet, freelance writer, and design student who is currently based in Kolkata. Her work has appeared in The Hooghly Review, The Blahcksheep, Livewire (The Wire), Poems India, The Alipore Post, India Film Project, and Remington Review among others. She loves to read about cultures, folklore, and anything that lies at the intersection of art and tech. She is passionate about environmental causes.

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