Amina H. Shafi

While in Pursuit of the Perfect Summer Purse

Orbit: The Asian American Issue
Volume 15:3, Summer 2014

While In Pursuit of the Perfect Summer Purse

Apa Ji,

I found your chocolate-brown leather clutch today
nestled in a pink plastic grocery bag marked,
“good handbags, R.S.”


was half an unfinished roll of Polo mints imported
from Pakistan, a capless ballpoint pen from a Hyatt hotel,
Ruhy and Rohina’s phone number jotted carefully

on a tag of steno-lined paper,
a Revlon lipstick called SHERRY sitting pretty in a slim gold case,
your carefully folded (trademark) tissue,

and your to do list of the day:

glasses to be fixed
cushions to be returned
& to buy new ones.
yarn to be bought
(flower vase) flowers to
do arrangement (Michael’s).


I will do these things for you.


Amina H. Shafi is a poet and visual artist who works in the field of refugee and asylum law. Shafi's photography from Nepal has appeared in Jaggery: A DesiLit Arts and Literature Journal and her poetry was featured in Volume One of the Totally Radical Muslims Zine. She attended the University of Mary Washington, where she completed a BA in International Affairs with concentrations in English Literature and the Fine Arts and her JD from the Dickinson School of Law at Pennsylvania State University, focusing in International Law. Several of her pieces share the theme of the sacred feminine-masculine and she is currently working on a connected series of poems based on her dreams.