Aqdas Aftab: Pretend You Breathe Life

Aqdas Aftab: Pretend You Breathe Life

All Death


Teach your students trans petals and poetics, just not all death.

Critiqcritiqcritique rac-ing states, but you too, sought all death.


Pretend you breathe life into humans by reading afresh big books.

Oh c’mon now-- a shift in hermeneutics never fought all death!


God rolled her eyes at liberals so hard, Her gaze got stuck in firdaus.

White professors still strut silly, even after their pens begot all death.


A friend texts another suicide attempt, another tactonic plate splits.

Weeping in panic, Azraeel promises, he did not plot all death.


Exhausted, you beg her, “tear open my scalp and lick my bleeding brain.”

The tools are ready. “No, use your nails.” In bed you forgot all death.


Tonight you want hard choking, her curls coiled around your neck.

Sweet way to lose breath. Maybe her tenderness will cumblot all death. 

queer theory theory


there once was a cycle

and it continues till tomorrow


they made sure i wouldn’t speak

of me. my imagined utterance became

wound. so i learned queer acadamese

to speak me be. you know, they can't enter

this colonial academy


they watched me fuck the world with words

not understanding any meaning i make.

i watched them fuck my world, with slurred

speech i erupted, spat blood into wordy

thesis statements


this is how we wrangle. each other. everyday/ but

i did not birth them from my weeping womb or my

insecure sperm

i did not install a lamp/ only to scare it of its own glow

Aqdas Aftab is a pakistani queer nonbinary writer, currently getting their PhD in decolonial trans of color literature at the University of Maryland. Their writing has been published or is forthcoming in Bitch Media, Vulture Bones, Crab Fat Magazine, and The Rumpus. These days, Aqdas is thinking about spirituality and love through the framework of prison abolition.