issue 7: apr 2016, Poetry
Comments 2

Lazarus Women by Briana Naseer

My father dedicated his life
to making me doubt myself;
whittling me down
from a little girl,

trying his damnedest
to reverse my growth,
squeeze me down
smaller in spirit
than I already was
in stature.

So my mother stepped in
as miracle worker-

safeguarding me
from birth to twenty-one,
taking the brunt
and the burn,
making sure

their crossfire fueled me
rather than left me
covered with welts.

She is the sole reason
I absorbed so much light,
so much power
that I broke out
of his orbit,

a comet streaking
its escape,
surpassing even
the stars.

The last insult
my father hurled at me,
a desperate hand-grasp
of an attempt
to shatter
my shelter
of strength:

My mother doesn’t listen,
her mother didn’t listen,
that’s why she was hit.
And I’ve got it too.

I’m that special brand of bitch
that doesn’t do
as she’s told.

As if I would be hurt by it,
rather than wear it
as a badge of honor.

How many daughters can claim
a bloodline of mothers
that rise from their ashes
and eat men like air?


Briana Naseer is a Pakistani-American poet living in Chicago, Illinois.  She is originally from Lakeland, Florida, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of South Florida.  She is currently pursuing a graduate degree in school psychology.  She has a cat named Boo. You can find her on tumblr and instagram.

Illustration by Van Hong (website).



  1. Love how the ending holds high the heritage you’ve inherited from your mother. To me, it seems an expression of the power of non-violent defiance, as well; coming out of our own would-be destructions and digesting the violence as something without power any longer. That is good writing! Proud of you!


  2. James Henry says

    Hey Brianna I’m so proud of you and I know that your father was not a good person but you handle growing up in that environment and turned out to be a very smart girl and have a great attitude towards life.


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