They float down the streets of Kabul,
burqa-clad beings cloaked in blue from tip to toe.
They hover on the edges, less person than shape,
more human than men.
They stand on bullet-ridden streets, flanked
by men in cars, men in masks, men with guns.
Tentative hands outstretched to the sky, to the stars,
I pass by in gilded cage, eyes rarely meet
through glass, through wounded space,
through countless walls built on whim
and endless deceit.
Driving past, you would hardly notice her,
this one with her arms crossed across taut chest,
asserting a former claim over something
that no longer exists.
She sits under a burnt sky, extracts sympathy,
distills it into a nectar, sips it in dark corners
to deaden memories
of the long dead.
She feels no regret, but the fault lines on her face
tell another story. She cradles her grief
like a lapdog that won’t go away,
stroking its lifeless body.
Moni Brar is a Canadian writer who was born in India. Her writing explores race, gender, diaspora and belonging. Her work appears in YYC POP, Calgary Short Édition, and various anthologies. She is a member of the Writers’ Guild of Alberta and the editorial board of New Forum Magazine.
Katya Roxas is a Communications Officer at UBC Library who has experience with branding, content creation and social media. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Multimedia Arts, specializing in graphic design and illustration, and a Diploma in Digital Marketing and Communications. Born and raised in the Philippines, Katya is well-versed with the sacrifices and opportunities that come with being an immigrant. Through her experiences, she strives to break the barriers of cultural misrepresentation by creating honest and inclusive visual expressions.