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In Flames

Sarah Ahmed

In Flames
a poem by Sarah Ahmed

Dear Asian Youth,

I knew what would happen, that this wouldn’t end well

But I couldn’t resist those sweet green eyes that crinkled when your mouth curved into a smile

I knew that it would just cause pain, that my heart would rip apart every night, but I continued to fan the flames.

She told me that she would have failed in life if I didn’t love someone who fit her description.

She doesn’t care to know you, how you’re passionate about Neural Networks

She doesn’t care to see you, proudly wearing your Bernie 2020 sweater and advocating for all the issues so near to my heart

She doesn’t care to hear you, comforting her daughter every day.

“Every night I pray that you only marry someone who is South Asian”, she tells me- “Nothing else matters.”

Not knowing how her words cause immeasurable and irreversible amounts of damage

Not knowing how much I desperately long for her to feel for my happiness

So I’m sorry my mother won’t ever accept you

I’m sorry that our love is a secret

I’m sorry I can’t give you what you deserve

I’m sorry that I played with fire and then set both of us up in flames.

-S. Ahmed

In South Asian culture, arranged marriages are very common and it is expected that one marries the same race, ethnicity, and sometimes even clan that they are. The pressure from families to have a partner for their child that fits specific characteristics out of one's control damages young children and their idea of what love should be.


S. Ahmed is a South Asian 11th grader who goes by the pronouns she/her. She is passionate about politics, science, and literature. Her favorite books are The Fall by Albert Camus and Women, Race, and Class by Angela Davis. She hopes to one day become a doctor and completely reform America's corrupt healthcare industry.

Instagram: @sarahh.ahmadd

Cover Photo Source: The Tempest

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