If They Come for Us: Poems
Poet and co-creator of the Emmy-nominated web series Brown Girls captures her experience as a Pakistani Muslim woman in contemporary America, while exploring identity, violence, and healing.
“A debut poetry collection showcasing both a fierce and tender new voice.”—Booklist
an aunt teaches me how to tell
an edible flower
from a poisonous one.
just in case, I hear her say, just in case.
Orphaned as a child, Fatimah Asghar grapples with coming of age and navigating questions of sexuality and race without the guidance of a mother or father. These poems at once bear anguish, joy, vulnerability, and compassion, while also exploring the many facets of violence: how it persists within us, how it is inherited across generations, and how it manifests itself in our relationships. In experimental forms and language both lyrical and raw, Asghar seamlessly braids together marginalized people’s histories with her own understanding of identity, place, and belonging.
Advance praise for If They Come for Us
“Every age has its poets who spring-load every line with the personal and political so that you know what it was to be fully alive in that time and place—or torn from it. [Fatimah] Asghar provides this anguished specificity in her debut poetry collection, a meditation on identity, dislocation, and loss. . . . Her story sweeps wide, becoming the history of India, Partition, genocidal hatred, and timeless misogyny. In the telling, she moves freely in form. . . .Taut lines, vivid language, and searing images range cover to cover. . . . Inventive, sad, gripping, and beautiful.”—Library Journal (starred review)
“In this awe-inspiring debut, Asghar, writer of the Emmy-nominated web series ‘Brown Girls,’ explores the painful, sometimes psychologically debilitating journey of establishing her identity as a queer brown woman within the confines of white America. . . . Honest, personal, and intimate without being insular or myopic, Asghar’s collection reveals a sense of strength and hope found in identity and cultural history: ‘our names this country’s wood/ for the fire my people my people/ the long years we’ve survived the long/ years yet to come.’”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
- 128 pages
- One World (8/7/18)