• Zainab Zaheer

The XX of my Chromosome - Zainab Zaheer

I would crawl back up your womb, Ma

to soothe the pilgrim aches.

My body stretched – a meeting point of four vertices.

Was Jesus a woman too?

My birthmark – the stigmata,

were you born with it too?

I see gashes crisscrossing your body

like the countryside picket fences.

I am weighed under, Ma

My knees crack. Who articulated an apology

on each of my vertebrae?

My thighs rise up

to embrace the curve of my belly.

My arms hammered shut across my midriff,

who laced my ribs with abnegation?

Who condemned me to be

a bone fashioned to keep bending in on itself?

I lie, my body gathered in a telltale hug

reflecting the XX of my chromosome.

Reflecting the XX of my chromosome


I lie, my body gathered in a telltale hug.

Who condemned me to be

a bone fashioned to keep bending in on itself?

Who laced my ribs with abnegation?

My arms hammered shut across my midriff

my thighs rise up

to embrace the curve of my belly.

My knees crack. Who articulated an apology

on each of my vertebrae?

I am weighed under, Ma

I see gashes crisscrossing your body

like the countryside picket fences.

Were you born with it too,

my birthmark – the stigmata?

Was Jesus a woman too?

My body stretched – a meeting point of four vertices

to soothe the pilgrim aches

I would crawl back up your womb, Ma


Zainab Zaheer is an amateur poet, a traveler and an educationist. She lives in Lahore with her family of humans, stray cats and home grown vegetables. She works a 9 to 5 desk job and writes to break free from the dull existence within glass cubicles, plastic flora and faux wood flooring. Between designing workshops and generating data graphs, she dreams of making it as a writer one day.


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