"The beginning is like an incision.
She is forever revisiting the beginning;
it stands out distinctly in the course of her life,
whereas what follows seems back to front,
or cut off, or in disarray."




We were the daughters 

Of the witches 

Who could set fire to skeletons

Of the ones who wanted 

To castrate and crush

The petals of our flowering youth

To get their hands fragrant. 

We played this 'fire-game'

But not all the time, 

We had our moments of transcendence too,


We also had licked the sweat of the men,  

Who could brew us coca beans

Who could feed us bread, 

We also had our territories of peace,  

With our men in our land of significance, 

We were not witches but the daughters

Of the ones who once had gotten bewitched

Not because they wanted to, but they were asked to. 


Unlike our mothers we knew the meanings of tenderness and love-pecks, 

We could let our lovers use their bones 

On our paper-flesh as pens, 

We could sip the stories from their lips

But we also knew, where and when, 

To leave them desertedwith their strangled isolation haunting their no-more-lovely faces. 


We were the daughters of the witches they forgot to burn in the wombs of their mothers.


Ramsha Ashraf is an emerging Pakistani poet. Her debut poetry collection, Enmeshed, was published in 2015. She writes in three langauges including Urdu and Punjabi. Other than that she is linked with teaching Langauge and Literature in Pakistan. A believer of humanism and pragmatism, she is still learning to live a life worth living.