Ahlaam Moledina

Her eyes dark charm ‘twere vain to tell,
But gaze on that of the gazelle,
It will assist the fancy well;
As large, as languishly dark

-The Giaour, Lord Byron

i suppose i would have to start with the pink – all those pinpricks poking flooding flushing
through cherry tomato cheeks you are supposed to say rosy healthy glowing! i
snapped at my mother when she said there is something poultry-like about them eyes large and
gaping like a deer have you seen when i wash the
chicken for iftar, chicken blood swirling rippling blooming in a bowl of water? chicken blood
under translucent skin she said,
amused at her image-making and now like the mzungu i am pink, ashamed in that museum of a
waiting room,
because what kind of human makes an animal out of another? the word for small in swahili is
how she would describe their eyes – ndogo, watery, watery, watching – white people love to
their eyes stuck fast on our eyes
– what is it about white poets and muslim women eyes? they are fixated on muslim women eyes,
hijabi eyes, niqabi eyes, eyes staring east and eyes stuck fast ahead-
what is it with white writers and their fixation on those identical brown kohl-lined eyes of their
imaginations? like we are a monolith who share eye makeup, my sister said once and i suppose
she is right, blending out my waterline with hand-me-down eye pencil in a warped mirror i
almost look like one of them, pink in the memory of chicken blood, blooming, flowering, plump.

Ahlaam Moledina is a second-year studying Radio/TV/Film and (hopefully) Creative Writing. She’s from Birmingham in the UK, and she is equal parts embarrassed and proud of her tattoo of Birmingham’s area code.