A Subdued Female Protagonist


               Artwork by Maham Khan –


By Aqsa Ishaq


It is we sinful women
while those who sell the harvests of our bodies
become exalted
become distinguished
become the just princes of the material world.

(Kishwar Naheed, Translated by Rukhsana Ahmed)


Standing in the vacuum somewhere far above

She could see the noise and feel the visibility

The screen hated her.

She received the hate and kept looking.


Under the covers of honor and shame and lust

She was made to love –

The cuss words, the abuse, the tears,

The blasphemy against a woman,

The teapot in the kitchen.


He slapped me and pushed me on the bed

Amidst the lights, the camera, the action

Life stopped responding to the lingering expression in her eyes.

Paintings, and leaves, and cries hanging on the wall

The eye could not see the tear.

My Jhumkas, piercing the flesh, are the colors to be followed

It was all love

She was loved.


In the curves of her body

Lived the gods of honor and desire

For her, not of her.

The screen flashes again

She could not move

She saw the vulture through the screen

The viewer of these lights, the camera, the action

She could not move.



I am a literature graduate. I believe in questioning the ways of life and disrupting the silence of injustice with my ordinary yet determined voice of rebellion.



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