"Beg" and "Limbs"


On the day my daughter turns three
old enough to understand fragments of
the intricate theory of love, I will unfold
my prayer rug and proudly confess to her:
this is where you beg
beg as if there's no tomorrow
beg without the hesitation of hoboes in front of the porticos of affluent businessmen
beg like a gale that would sabotage the plans of his perpetrators 
beg with a belief that you will be awarded what you're striving for
tell as if you would perish without telling
and then continue telling your Most Benevolent friend 
how your day went, how someone fibbed to you
what makes you burn in delight, what are your darkest fears
cry as if 
you have something
to cry for
this is how I will help her practise
for I know the intense years that will unfurl
she will have something or someone to cry for
this is not a curse, I swear
this is prayer in its purest form
for I know this world will break her too
the way it broke me, the way it broke my ancestors, so I have to 
help her long before she begins believing she's irreparable like pearls that know they can never go back to their celestial shells
but with God by your side
even the moon can be halved 
I will help her 
the same way my lovely mother did.




A man without limbs

grapples with negativity

to function properly.


She is not

just my mother.


The voracious nooks

and crannies

of this house

have been nudging me:

who will tend to us, now?

whose smile will

warm us up?


In response to

their plea,

I holler:

who will lull

my insecurities to sleep?

who will wipe

my profuse tears?


An obsession

with a mother

is different than that

with a lover –

you wouldn’t have

arrived here

without a mother,


you have dwelled

near her heart

before entering

this realm

of murkiness and exhaustion.


Without her

every magical thing

that encompasses me

becomes meaningless,


without her

the synonym of





She is akin

to my limbs.


In her absence,

I resemble a man

without limbs;


In her absence,

I resemble a boat

adrift on the sea.



Afra Adil Ahmad is a writer, poet, artist and calligrapher. Based in Taiwan, she holds a Bachelor's degree in English Literature. She writes about everything under the sun: from dark issues of the society to problems faced by teenagers to imparting chunks of wisdom through her poems, stories and write-ups. Her works have appeared in various magazines including Iman collective, MYM, Rather Quiet, Ice Floe Press, Olney Magazine, The Malu Zine, The Sophon Lit, Blue Minaret, Melbourne Culture Corner, Her Hearth Magazine, The Hot Pot Magazine, Ghudsavar magazine, Cloudscent Magazine, and Eunoia Review


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Thursday, February 8, 2024 - 21:00