Your father died
today. You smile and act normal. Your mother
weeps gently into a crumbling tissue in the corner
of a large room draped
in white sheets. You meet the people
that have come to give their condolences, kissing them
on both cheeks just like the French do. You say,
yes, I’m fine. Thank you for coming.
Won’t you sit? Would you like anything to eat? You don’t know what to do
with your hands. You invite the younger children up to your
pastel-pink bedroom. You laugh when the older ones remind you that you are
twenty-something years old and comment on how girlish you remain.
You ask the girls if they want to see
your new perfume. You place the perfume on your chest of drawers in front
of an old picture
of you and your father,
bringing out new bottles every time telling yourself you will put them away
You tell everyone yes, I’m fine
The guests leave. You go to sleep.
Three days later, the perfume bottles are still there.
Fareeha Shah wrote this poem when she was 17 years old. She lives in Karachi, Pakistan, and her hobbies include horseback riding, photography, and writing.
Artwork by Eleanor Goetz created this piece when she was in 11th grade. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.