Volume Five, Issue 3

in the cleft of our lips

Sana Mufti

A long time ago, in my sleep, I am supposed to write to Ami. This is what I know. But there is a hesitancy in me, a fear keeping me from picking up the pen. I try to speak to her, but my voice has no sound; from where she is, which is too far away, she cannot hear me. I pick up the pen then, seeing no other choice, and the feel of it feels foreign and wrong in my grip. I am supposed to write in Urdu. I know this. I do not know how. I have the thoughts in my head, but my hands have never learned their scrawl. All my hands know is how to translate. I write my name, but Ami cannot understand it. No, she has chosen to forget the language that once buried her alive, separated her from her home. I cry and she does, too, because now I am a colonizer; the more I write, the more she fades—soon, we cannot recall each other’s faces. I am devastation, I steal artifacts of her history and present them to the world as if they are mine—force them to belong in the sounds of my language which are not hers. I translate her, and now she is not real.

In the morning, when I wake to the horrifying tune of an arrogant English bird, I feel as though I have eradicated the real parts of me. This feels especially true as the day goes by and the yellow-gold wheat fields sway with the gentle notes of all things light and seen— and the thing that I have lost feels right being buried under imported seeds and soils who have been renamed, histories altered and misremembered.

Sana Mufti: “I am a creative writer with a double degree in English and Psychology from the University of Toronto. I have published a poetry book, What We Left Behind, which explores the influence of emotion on growth and identity. I have also published my short story “In His Head” in Dreamer’s Magazine, was selected to present her other short story, “Mr. Politician” at the Sigma Tau Delta English Convention (2020), and my short story, "Brookhaven Crescent" will be out this July in Overheard Magazine. I have also published a few of my poems in various magazines including the Eunoia Review amongst many others. I strive to explore themes of identity and the philosophy of time and motion. I comment on the personal struggle of defining the self and finding stability in a constantly changing world.”

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