This time
when she asks me to be her daughter
I will say yes.

I will not pretend
to be lost in the yoyo tug of her tongue.
I know the word for ‘alone’
in every stuttering language I speak.

I will drink all the coffee she puts
in front of me. Gulp down its bitter.
Hate the shadows it leaves in my mouth.

I will let her worry about my late nights.
My tendency to lock myself in rooms
I have no business in. My falling. My boys.

I will let her buy me socks. I will stop
wearing ones with holes. I will learn
I am worthy of things that are not broken.
That keep me warm when they promise to.

We will fight. I will say things I do not mean
I will make her cry because I know she
will not leave. I will revel in the security
of unconditional.

This time
when she asks me to be her daughter
I will move my things into her house.
I will pretend with all the wanting of yes
With all the hate of alone

This time, when she asks for me to be her daughter
I will say:
I do not know how.
I have never been one.

I will let her worry.


Fatimah Ashgar

Photography: Marija Belina