Seating Chart by Mariam Zafar

Seating Chart

Mariam Zafar

Table 1: Reserved

for his family. the chief topic of discussion is her family. short kameezay are so last season. women trip over embroidered trails of their own wedding dresses, altered to match the trend. men are motionless, bored of munching on mini samosas and discussing Pakistani politics. they smile proud for the cameras. their boy’s an engineer

The Stage

they fidget under the weight of bodies exchange cheek kisses and envelopes (wonder how much is in there). they’re lit up to entertain one hundred and fifty gazes. unaccounted ones too, those that show up uninvited. they always do. please look into his eyes like you’re in love. just a little bit to the right. there. perfect

Table 2: Reserved

for her family. here shirt lengths are shorter, the needlework not as detailed. yes she’s young. yes he’s an engineer. of course she plans to finish school. they smile wide for the cameras. eyes look worried. must be the flash

Table 3

is where the single girls congregate in a flurry of cloths and lips. colorful. dazed. one minute in every thirty, a lady inquires about this pretty one or that tall one. necks swan for a glimpse of the stage. giddy from all the attention. snapchat their own pictures. dream about marrying the photographer. of wearing white instead of red

Table 4

friends of the families. friends of friends of the families. mostly married couples. there mostly for the buffet. in between servings, they gulp down their relief. smile expertly for the camera. thank god the wedding season’s over. running out of clothes

Table 5

is empty. all the single boys are outside, smoking away their mothers’ attempts to match make. leave me alone ma. humid night. unbuttoned shirts. chai cups sweat


© Mariam Zafar


Mariam ZafarMariam Zafar is a recent graduate of the MFA in Creative Writing Program at The New School. A desert dweller at heart, she currently writes between Miami, Dubai, and New York City. She is the 2015 winner of the Paul Violi Prize in Poetry and The New School’s MFA Chapbook Contest, and her work has appeared in H.O.W JournalThe Seventh Wave, Bird’s Thumb, and The Ink & Code. You can tweet her @itsmariamzafar.