Two Poems by Ramsha Ashraf


I’ve cried a few times in my sleep


I’ve cried a few times in my sleep
not out of helplessness
but out of sheer spite.

The facade of your love
is the noose
I feel around my neck.

You can still be my lover
but not my killer
the time is over.

Think not that you can lick away
the nectar flowing out of my body
and still can be the possessor.

Think not that you can implant
your seed at the hour of need
and still can be the oppressor.

I defy your words of worship
I bow not to your lordship
your reign won’t terrify me.

The poison you have in your words
since the time of my birth
won’t kill me.

The power you have in your slaps
this time, I am sure,
won’t hurt me.

I’ve cried a few times in my sleep
not out of helplessness
but out of sheer spite



Love Poems are Hard to Write

We have played with echoes in the dark—
our voices hit the death of silence
imbued in cemented walls.

We speak of our surrealist dreams woven around Dali’s demons, the last polaroid nudes, ink and acrylics on skin, Passolini’s Accattone, pomegranates in colors other than red and white, homely homelessness, honey pitching out of life that is body, for us—

A mosquito hums Dracula-lullaby,
you say it’s like the god’s voice-annoying and constant– i reach out to crush the god’s voice between my palms, you giggle and hide your lost eyes behind the shadows of my forearms—

Forgetfulness is bliss—
i carve the names of your hundred gods
one on each fold of your skin,
you cry-empty sobs filled with hope,
you say ‘these all are dead,’-the ones on your skin-i think about creating others. Small gods on your skin would look fine. You aren’t a big guy either.

Love poems are hard to write—
during bewildered nights like these they shine
and fade out through the cracks
as the day breaks & light gets in.

After all it’s a mosquito’s lullaby—
god’s voice, your song, my dream,
all awaiting to get crushed within the palms of time.



Ramsha Ashraf is a poet and playwright who lives in Pakistan. She has published a collection of poetry, Enmeshed (2015), and she was a 2017 resident at the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa.


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