For twenty-one days, we’d visit
Cold rooms of a strange hospital –
Eager to see a baby
with hydrocephalus breathe.
But I’m glad you never joined us
because you’d have to grow up
with us four, with Bhai’s teenage
tantrums, glass shattered in the living
Room and Ammi’s swollen eyes
Under her flowery duvet
Through these seventeen years.
You never had to hear
Anger in Baba’s words
Displaced at no one, it’s
echo that lingered for days.
You, little sister, always
Imagined to be a part of us
But lucky to be shielded
from the monotony of our lives.
*In Pakistan, Bhai is a term used for elder brothers, Ammi for mothers, and Baba for fathers.

Ilsa Abdul Razzak

Ilsa is an undergraduate student from Karachi, Pakistan. She considers herself a lifelong student of the social sciences but likes to experiment with poetry when not working on research papers.