They are smooth and beautiful.
Even under the pressure of the entire sea on top of them.
Women who have buried children and still danced at weddings.
Women whose fast hands make magic and cure sadness.
As if every goddess was sent to Wardak.
Every daughter born comes into this world screaming.
Not from pain or misery but to let those around her know another empress is here to rule.
Pakhtana women have voices that boom.
And laughs that echo through rooms.
These are the queens of my lineage.
The ones who gave me legs like tree stumps and hands made of iron.
The ones who put out fires when they burn.
The ones who love us to the point of madness.
photo of my refugee mother and sister, Afifa & Awesta Wardak, 1980’s, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa