In this poem, Fahmida Riaz – a well known Urdu writer, poet and feminist from Pakistan – gives life to Aqleema, the sister of Cain and Abel, who has been given little attention in scripture. A version of the legend claims that the brothers fought over their sister Aqleema’s hand.

“Adopting Aqleema as a figure for the invisible woman of history, Riaz makes a direct appeal to God and suggests that poetry can rewrite the past, make amends for it, and use it to illuminate the present” (http://wordswithoutborders.org/book-review/modern-poetry-of-pakistan)

Aqleema jo Haabeel ki Qaabeel ki ma-jaayi hai
Ma-jaayi, magar mukhtalif
Mukhtalif beech mein raanon ke
Aur pistaanon ke ubhaar mein
Aur apne pet ke andar
Aur kokh mein
In sab ki qismat kyun hai
Ik farba bher ke bachche ki qurbaani
Vo apne badan ki qaidi
Tapti huwi dhoop mein jalte
Teelay par khadi huwi hai
Pat’thar par naqsh bani hai
Uss naqsh ko ghaur se dekho
Lambi raanon se oopar
Ubhre pistaanon se oopar
Pecheeda kokh se oopar
Aqleema ka sar bhi hai
Allah kabhi Aqleema se bhi kalaam kare
Aur kuchh poochhe!

The English translation is below:
The sister of Cain and Abel
But she is different
Different between her thighs
And in the bulge of her breasts
Different in her gut
And insider her womb
Why is the fate of all of these
The sacrifice of a fatted lamb?
Imprisoned by her own body
Burning in the scalding sun
She stands on a hilltop
Like a mark etched on stone
Look at this mark carefully
Above the long thighs
Above the high breasts
Above the tangled womb
Akleema has a head too
Let God speak to Aqleema some time
And ask her something.

The poem in its original Urdu script is below: