Sanah Ahsan

jukebox throats

with the help of god’s good humor

and an advert placed in Jang newspaper
saying ‘Wife Wanted’
they met for time first
his arrival scuffed the white door
with nothing
and a mouthful of poems

                                    the beginnings of chaos
                                    grew quietly like untamed
                                    pyracantha crawling
                                    blood over the back
                                    garden fence

my mother waits
till he’s home
to place three fingers full
of channa into his hunger
they lick the same plate
into a gleaming slate

                                  when she opened my father’s gut
                                  to find piles of baby
                                  blue pens paraphernalia
                                  of bookies paper scrawling
                                  with the odds 54/1
                                  she smashed walls against plates
                                  children made of sharp light
                                  left to gather themselves

they say for the children
with jukebox throats
the shredding is on repeat
father lies a clammy palm
over The Holy Quran
promises it’s for the children
they sleep with a wall between them

                                 my mother cooks for herself
                                 wearing her own solitaire diamond
                                 my father scribbles on betting slips
                                 his hands ringless


Sanah Ahsan is an award-winning poet, liberation psychologist, poet, educator and presenter. She won the Outspoken Poetry Performance Prize, has been shortlisted for the White Review Poetry Prize, Bridport Poetry Prize, Frontier Poetry Prize and longlisted for the National Poetry Competition. Her poetry has been published in Wasafiri, The White Review, Ink Sweat & Tears, 14 Poems, Stillpoint amongst others, and anthologised by several presses, including Pan-Macmillan. Sanah’s poems have been featured on Channel 4 and BBC 4, and reviewed by The Guardian as “an exhilarating declaration of love and an invocation to bare the soul.” Sanah has recently worked as poet and lyricist for theatre adaptations of The Jungle Book for The Watermill Theatre. She is currently writing her debut poetry collection with support from Arts Council England.

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