Irteqa Khan

Irteqa Khan (she/her) is a Muslim-Canadian writer and poet from Peshawar, Pakistan. She is a Ph.D. student in Political Science at York University. Her writing has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and appears in Homology Lit, Erato Magazine, ANMLY, Honey Literary, The Hyacinth Review, Five South, and Aôthen Magazine, among others. Irteqa’s debut poetry chapbook, rēza rēza, was published with Gap Riot Press in 2020.

dâstân diptych

the majazi is the haqeeqi

to lose everything to flowers


is unseparating the humanity

from the bravura of the flesh


revolutionary blood empathizing

with hands holding heavy water


to pull what hurts out

from loving’s dirty foot


one warm word is

a costly rare element


admittance into the garden

when the night has seen your mind


is more generosity than

a khush uncontrollable wind


and my difference in yours

is the sword lily and




the nest is also a prison

so is the villainy of ancestry


but my desire is angular

a wielding piece


teaching me an unsplitting cure

for metropolitan maladies


before creeping normality

enter: a waxing here i am


powersuiting in animal teeth

and calibrating my tragedy



not the seizure of nature

















of burning in other ways

a thing that ages beautifully

is pearls becoming rivers


in the light of broad eyes

while a diet of wounds marches


amongst sinners of the system

these womb relationships say


together and teeth-achingly

means the heart is a country too


a perpetual occasion of hope

a self-accusing spirit


is becoming human

snatching and wriggling softly


a principled mutiny

humming to the dastoor-e-dunya


visibilizing a chaos theory

when the ambience is palpable




i heard some body in me chant

and to see is to love


t r a n s c e n d e n t a l

residual, reactive, rangrez


like angel numbers at breakfast

recite: finally happy now?


that unforgiving child smiles

at the rictus of the world


so as to tighten the salt of seams

under a provisory name



This poem previously appears in rēza rēza (Gap Riot Press, 2020).