Proudly created with

  • Neha Maqsood

Yes Poetry - What is it about brown girls?

This poem, originally published in Quail Bell Magazine, pays tribute to all South Asian women across the globe for their unparalleled strength, perseverance and immense understanding as they traverse and survive through patriarchal norms.

brown girls have hair of various

persuasions – straight, greasy, frizzy

curly,   silky

pubic             black

eyebrows bushy and uni-brows a norm.

faces playing a ‘fifty shades of brown’ game, brown

hued skin deeming us


pudgy belly's and muffin tops from all the masala

biryani, keema & qorma

hair greasy from the

leftover, unwashed coconut oil massaged in

from the kaam wali. black locks turn wavy

skidding past melanin laced shoulders.

hair unkempt, blown in a frenzy by

Storm Freya. white girls

                        hair stays straight.

‘is it glued to their head?’ the brown girls


mama sends the phone flashing,

      hello     pyari     beti

unchecked phone for 3 hours is a south asian no-

no Neha,




brown girlfriends catching your vibe as

auntie’s note the pimples in your


uncles’ comment

on your thigh chub, gazes lingering just below

the neckline.

seeking refuge with house help

coming from inner-Pakistani villages – they catch your vibe


somehow everyone catches your vibe

                                     except the aunties and uncles.

brown girls who listen to mama’s stories,

fetch daddy’s medication

finance little brother’s education

brown girls who are multitudes

colouring outside the lines,

stretching the box patriarchy

set for them.

girls with big

dreams and wild fantasies knotted to their


girls who sacrifice.

girls who



The original home (Yes Poetry) for this poem can be found at -