What’s Your Name


Order Irene’s new collection, the galaxy of origins. Scroll down for audio. 

what’s your name

the heavy chimes
clot the hours
in the air and

my blood asks, do bones
carry future memories
in their marrows?

waiting for a face
that is a mirror, I
turn the page of

a tome that lists
only my name
my name my name.

tonight each cicada sings
its name, the only
one it knows,

and when I stepped out
the door this morning
and a chipmunk

slammed into my shoe, it
couldn’t remember
its name for a moment.

our eyes met – I blurted
sorry, sweetie! its name
I did not know

an emptiness arching
around my tongue
as if to know and say it

could undo our small


IMG_0575Irène Mathieu is a writer and medical student at Vanderbilt University. Before medical school she studied International Relations at the College of William and Mary and completed a Fulbright Fellowship in the Dominican Republic. Irène’s poetry, prose, and photography have been published or are forthcoming in The Caribbean Writer, the Lindenwood Review, Muzzle Magazine, qarrtsiluni, Extract(s), So to Speak, Diverse Voices Quarterly, Journal of General Internal Medicine, Love Insha’Allah, Los Angeles Review, Callaloo Journal, HEArt Journal, and elsewhere. She has been a Pushcart Prize nominee and a Callaloo fellow. Her poetry chapbook the galaxy of origins was published in 2014 by Dancing Girl Press. You can read her blog and follow her on Twitter.

fr muslim girls who considered suicide when the ummah wasnt enuf

Screen shot 2014-09-22 at 1.05.15 PM

fr mariam , khadijah, fatima, hajar, alla , yall,

fr our communities that hold us,

recite algebraic formulas against evil eye

2 × al fatiha plus 3 astaghfirallahs =

your eyelashes wont fall out

written with such love and concern

fr when we struggle w them

against islamophobia ,

racism , the revolution

do our dawah n make

dua fr you, me, the deen

thinkin abt the dirty linen

we spent all night

folding with our teeth clenched…


Read the rest of this amazing poem, here!


Eds. Note: We’re celebrating the stories and perspectives of Muslim youth between the ages of 18-25 this month! Tune in on Twitter to join the #MYRising conversations and check out our sister sites Muslimah Montage, Coming of Faith and Muslim ARC for more #MYRising features.

IMG_6915 - Version 2
In my culture, love is a fairytale.
It exists in Bollywood movies and mothers’ wombs; both places where magic occurs.
So when he tells me we have to talk
I already know the dust has settled and all that glitters is not gold
because despite never saying “you owe me”
the lights in our sky were dim
despite how many tribes we’ve known
my parents only believed in one

I wish I could tell him that I was never taught how to love
So when he tells me about his father coming home and hugging his mother from behind
I listen, I smile
I wonder if this is when I should tell him I’m not sure how my parents love
(I didn’t)
I hug him from behind as he cracks open eggs over easy for breakfast
As if osmosis would tell him I could be like his father

Read the rest of this entry »


Eds. Note: Wishing our readers a blessed Eid filled with peace, beauty, & joy! Ramadan may have ended, but our hearts are filled with longing for the month again.



holiest of dates

the last hunger before the breaking of the fast

the taste of you on my lips

sustenance for thirty days and thirty nights

from sun up to sun down

i watched for your arrival


the blessed coolness of the night air on my parched dryness


the holiest of dates to sweeten this bitter loneliness


fell upon me


the last hunger before the breaking of the fast
Read the rest of this entry »

Love after death

Photo credit: Les Talusan, lestalusanphoto.com

Photo credit: Les Talusan, lestalusanphoto.com

I often wonder about love after death.

After the bodies are buried, janazas are done, and people become memories – how do we love souls then? Is it in the past, like a faded memory? Does loving end when the grief ends? Can we continue to love, and have our lives shaped by that love, after the person is gone? What if…. they never actually really leave? How do we love through transitions into the hereafter?

This past July, I went to South Asia to caretake (“babysit”) my maternal grandfather for a couple of weeks while my aunt was out of town on business. He was a strong, tall, gregarious man, always the center of attention. He had just had his 86th birthday, and aging had taken its toll after the recent deaths of my Nani and two years later, my Ammu.

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Khaleesi – To the Men Who Mistreat Women

This powerful poem stopped us in our tracks. Note it is NSFW.


us women; merely second opinion
but first appetite
are taught early how to restrain the wolves,
when the men converge
all gnawing teeth and salivating fangs
these insatiable men who snarl us out of our lineage
sabertooth non-believers who cannot consider
how loud we can be
how brass and trombone this world has played us

there is no place here to
unravel yourself for them
bow your head
unlearn your name
Read the rest of this entry »

Manifesto for the Chaste Wanton


Manifesto for the Chaste Wanton

She will be your wild mare
at night, but in the day
she’ll blush if you glimpse a nipple
through her blouse & look away

In private she’ll pounce, a panther,
to tear you flank from thigh
but outside, one rough word
from you & her passion will die
Read the rest of this entry »


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