Are You My Karma?

Adeeba Jafri

It’s late tonight. The lights are out.

The time has come to check each route.

Stealthily checking every door.

Windows and balconies, once ignored.


Drumming my fingers, nodding off

Still waiting for a single cough.

A sign of life my kids are there.

Just one more stitch to mend the tear.


Tossing, turning. Unfit for sleep

Don’t dream, I think. Don’t go too deep.

Don’t travel far from where you are

Leave the hall light on, the door ajar.


My heart is aching. Be a little stronger.

My mind is racing. Stay awake longer.

The exhaustion finally pulls me deep

Free-falling in a fitful sleep.


Slowly walking through a dream

A cloudy type of haze it seems

And there she sits, my little girl

Her actions make my very heart soar


Engrossed in books, no phone in sight

Studying, I think, to my delight.

I run to her, with an open heart

For she would never do me harm

I blurt out with so little charm

“Are you my karma?”


She twists her chair around towards me

her face contorts, she looks so mean.

With a vicious look, she sneers at me

“Your karma is the studious one? Oh please.”


Why would I belong to you?

I study on my own, you fool.

I need no tutors, no after school sessions

I’m skilled at teaching others lessons.


You act like such a tiger mom.

As though you never had a single qualm.

You messed up one too many times

You failed your tests and then you lied

This karma does not belong to you

You deserve much worse, you know you do.


I stumble away from my awful teen.

How could I raise someone so mean?

What an awful thing to say to me.

My karma is something yet to see.


A few more steps, the haze then parts

I see my perfect counterpart.

He’s fit. He’s toned. He makes his own shakes.

He grills his food, whether chicken or steak.

No energy drinks or unnatural food

Some broccoli and fruits, some carbs for a boost


My nutrition lectures have finally worked!

The pat on my back was definitely hard earned.

With absolute confidence I’m happy to grace

I ask “Are you my karma?” with a smile on my face


My son starts to hiccup. I’m completely alarmed

Is he choking or something? Where do I start?

He’s laughing so much, he can hardly breathe

It takes a few minutes when he finally speaks.


He looks at me with obvious scorn.

“Your karma? Me?” My heart feels torn.

I don’t need you to make me whole

To make a basket or score a goal.

You never cared for your own health.

You only think about your wealth.

Your own workouts are useless and small

They don’t do much for that gut at all.

So no, dear mother, your karma is not in me

I’m fit, you’re not. It’s plain to see.


“You’re awful,” I scream as I run away.

In this dream landscape, I cannot stay.

My fragile heart is torn asunder.

The tears of pain I’m drowning under.


Just wake up now, I tell myself.

Don’t break down now. Get a hold of yourself!

There’s no one left to cause you pain

To break your heart, to cause you strain.


I’ll wake up any minute now

And then I’ll make another round.

“Wait for us.” I hear a voice

A gentle sound. Should I rejoice?


My children bend and help me up.

They wipe my tears. They give me a hug.

Each one speaks, as they hold my hand

To calm and help me understand.


For every ditch that comes, they say.

That force me down, that make me stay

The ones that I did not foresee

The ones I make with my own deeds

The way out has been shown to me

Though I avoid it painstakingly


You gave me tools, you gave me the means

The drive to climb, that belongs to me

The karma that you so desperately seek

Is not going to come from me

I am as I am, a mix of genes

Of experiences lived and changes seen


I cannot say that I won’t trip

That promises won’t break and lies won’t slip

But I can wipe away your tears

And do my best to assuage your fears


So wake up mom! Wake up from this dream

That keeps you in your slumber deep.

Be the parent, make the rules

And I’ll do my best to follow through.

Adeeba Jafri is a writer, teacher and IB Coordinator from NY, currently based in Doha, Qatar. Her work has been featured in various blogs and literary magazines, including Prohze, Fahmidan Magazine, BluntMoms, YourTeenMag, Raising Mothers, and the B’K magazine. She is the author of four children’s books and a YA novel.

This piece has previously appeared in BluntMoms.