Zara Rahman


Zara Rahman is a Bangladeshi-Canadian student based in Toronto. Zara is an active leader, artist and thinker within the city. She is passionate about business, social justice, spoken word poetry and youth advocacy.

To be a Girl

April 20, 2021

in July 2019
132 villages in India reported no births of girls since the start of last year

when confronted, the villagers said
It’s a coincidence
officials called it 
part of a custom
while I
salivated the word slaughter

drool dribbles and the tongue shrivels
trying to scrape massacre off the tip of my teeth
I wonder
if the girls went missing before their hearts first spoke
or if they knew each other at all
I wonder
if to be girl means to be an afterthought

a trail of bulbous breadcrumbs led down like a plunge neckline into the belly of a well
Is still well remembered
while to be girl is to be forgotten
like loose change
pocket fluff 

never enough to cushion the fall of a cell phone son
to be girl is to never get any sun
never have the halos of a prayer belt skinny jeans up for you to walk in-

when confronted the villagers said it's a coincidence 
an habitual act spiraled in pints of normal 
of fate, of fluke, of luck
what is normal but not tragedy made into a mundane Monday?

the boy cries wolf and headlines call it imaginary
the family kills daughter and officials call it customary
What is custom but not a costume?
Like a caramelized construct of a home cooked meal
in South Asian culture it is rude to refuse the food fed forward
but how do you turn down a plate of segregation force fed for generations?

The women in my family are first to serve, last to eat, but never are the ones to question 
try fitting this in your tradition
see how long it takes the ancestral smoke to exhale from these daughters mouths
watch their bones be stuffed into the belly of well
their bodies be butchered by the jaws of a smoke cloud

young girl 
they never wanted you to exist like that
never wanted you to be like that
since girls are always the first to go missing and nobody asks why
and nobody asks why
and nobody asks why

Isn’t a wingless bird born a burden
Isn't it amazing
how she still gets up and walks towards something anyways?


See History
  • April 20, 2021 - 10:38pm (Now Viewing)

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  • Writing4Life

    Wow...This is more of a foreign topic to me, as I was born a privileged, middle class, white female. But the power in your writing is breathtaking. The metaphors, and the amount of thought in each line is so stunning. Your performance literally gave me goosebumps; it brought so much more to this piece. Absolutely stunning job <3

    about 1 year ago
  • aalawrites

    I just watched your performance. It's so moving!

    about 1 year ago
  • aalawrites

    As a fellow south Asian I really relate with this. I think you've done a fantastic job portraying the struggles of being a girl in such a conservative and patriarchal environment. Nice work!

    about 1 year ago