What is it about brown girls?
brown girls have hair of various persuasions – straight, greasy, frizzy curly, silky
eyebrows bushy & unibrows a norm
faces playing a ‘fifty shades of brown’ game, brown
hued skin deeming us
pudgy belly’s & muffin tops from immensities of masala biryani, keema & korma
black locks turn wavy as they skid past melanin laced shoulders.
hair unkempt, blown in a frenzy by
Storm Freya. white girls’
hair stays straight
‘is it glued to their head?’ the brown girls
mama sends phone flashing,
‘hello pyari beti ?’
unchecked phone for 3 hours is a south asian no- no Neha,
brown girlfriends catch your vibe as
auntie’s note pimples in your
on thigh chub, gazes lingering just below the neckline, as you hold back
seeking refuge with house help
from inner-pakistani villages – they catch your vibe too
brown girls listen to mama’s stories, fetch daddy’s medication
finance little brother’s education,
brown girls who are multitudes – coloring outside lines, patriarchy set for
girls with big dreams and wild fantasies knotted to their hearts
girls who sacrifice.
girls who iam
Neha Maqsood is a Pakistani writer whose coverage on South Asian culture, race-relations, and global feminism has been published in Teen Vogue, Business Insider, Foreign Policy, Al Jazeera, The Doe, DAWN, and other places.
Her poetry, too, has been featured in numerous print and online literary journals and anthologies including the Kenyon Review, Ninth Letter, Ambit Magazine, Aleph Review, PROTOYPE, and Diode Poetry. Her debut poetry chapbook was awarded the Hellebore Poetry Scholarship Award and will be published by Hellebore Press in the Fall of 2021.
She is a graduate of Imperial College London (Hons).