This is the third part of our extracts taken from the new set of work by 4 BROWN GIRLS WHO WRITE, published by Rough Trade Books as a beautiful set of 4 pamphlets.

Today we’re honoured to share Sunnah Khan’s poem from her collection of the same name found in the volume.

I Don’t Know How To Forgive You When You Make No Apology For This Haunting gives voice to the ghosts of things unsaid—unearthing memory and drawing from the everyday to create a portrait of the self-reflecting on the implications of all it has come to inherit. 

From exploring a father’s absence with surprising religious reverence to sharp interrogations of identity politics, this collection bristles with quiet frustration and wrestles with grief—ultimately prevailing with the determination to transform—picking pain up with both hands and holding it to the light. 

Rough Trade Books

I Don’t Know How to Forgive You When You Make No Apology for This Haunting

You pretend to be half dead

You drag your mother’s dreams to the bottom of the ocean
You drag your mother
to the bottom of the ocean by her hair
You leave her there

You yawn at the weight of things
Stretch to find yourself floating
on a sea of your own laughter

You do not drown
Drowning is for the willing
Drowning is for those that keep swimming
in searching of their horizon

I was the daughter of a ghost
I know what it is to kiss the shadow
in the room on both cheeks
watch him peel like wallpaper
pop pills, pace the street
weep more than he slept

But you are not a shadow or a ghost

You pretend to be half dead
You go limp at the thought of living
as if living was an ugly storm
Your laugh is a shallow shore
It mocks the men who cast their hungry nets

I forget

the last time I saw your eyes
anchored firmly in your face.

Sunnah Khan

I Don’t Know How to Forgive You When You Make No Apology For This Haunting is taken from Sunnah Khan’s pamphlet of the same name, one of four pamphlets in the new collection by 4 BROWN GIRLS WHO WRITE (Rough Trade Books). Buy it here 


Sunnah Khan is a Scottish Pakistani poet, performer and documentary filmmaker living in London. She is part of and has been published with the collective 4 BROWN GIRLS WHO WRITE (FEM Press 2018) and in SLAM! You’re Gonna Wanna Hear This, chosen by Nikita Gill (Pan Macmillan 2020). This is her first solo collection.


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