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Sheikha A.



Crow's Silt 


Eyes set in like divided orbits; they say 

meat of a pure crow was used. Powerful 

spiritual people don't speak in clamours. 

They say there were many ghosts against 

the deed. Yet, performed, a  man of Allah 

was involved. Fire in full frontal labour. 

My mind is a fog of fatwas, they say I dream 

out of sins. A rusty pink flower has drunk 

rain. Milk depreciating in sachets. Economy of 

give and take. Land on the rings around 

the luminous triangle. There are pole ends 

to black masks. Fall against hubris ribs 

poking out of fibrous skin. Milk caramelizing 

within bones. Can you see the dreams 

stretch into a white mouth of screams? 

There is a moth pushing light out of its tail; 

levitating walls like a tall eclipse. Your mouth 

is too pretty, they hiss, and sever my father's arm - 




Uncomfortably Unknown  


for Aiyana and Waterbaby (Gina) 


I have closed my ears to the whispers 

breaking through thin veils. The constitution 

of winter is about being beautifully cold - overwinters - 

it's scarier when what feeds the song, dries up 

like a lining of clouds against sinking orange hues; 

everything coming at us is terrible like spring 

blooming as fiery nectar, and ghostly like 

sparkly translucent autumn, and divine like 

winter voids as holographic precision 

on black panels of an unknown energy.  

These winters thaw like a diver's awakening; 

when he meets the first fish on his adventure 

and he is told there is a mermaid as old as land 

before it became covered by sea; she has teeth 

of a widow's, and tail of a nubile giant; that she is 

loyal like a bird unwilling to leave its first feeder 

and she circles her domain like errant ripples; 

to excavate her bounty, he would have borne 

holes in his lungs before the air escaped his 

courage; she would place her hands as soft as 

jagged pearls discarded before formation 

on his chest to give him life anew like birth 

should his promise be true like a pomegranate  

of the underworld, that he would leave her  

his bones after his earthly time surrendered to  

the wind below the sea. He remembered  

the ruby-throat that had arrived on his window 

like something odd - out of season - as emerald snow, 

smelling the lilac silverleaf growing in his garden,  

how she dressed in a garment of brave wings, 

her feathers like sheen of sea under heat of day, 

the cage of wilderness not unknown  

to her wisdom, blatant like truth held in dew, 

pure like imprints of intent's paws on snow. 

This cold was hardship without which he was asleep.  

She was privilege like first harvest; he called her  

gatekeeper. Going as far out as he could  

to the centre of where borders cordoned off,  

where she sang through waves, water burning   

holes into his frozen body, but his mind waking  

to curiosity; his legs peddling the currents behind,  

water enclosing the fading traces of his plunge.  

I hear him like rising elements. His voice merged  

with hers. She sears like a black rose to the call 

of the moon. A feather floats unperturbed  

in the chill. I watch as whispers gather. It is 

no longer scarier. The song that returns is familiar. 





Maybe they get jealous of females,

the males in our family. Curses are

vouchers at a mall, from their mouths 

come ordinance, damnation, the orders

of the angels sitting on our shoulders

marking our uncovered heads as the day

of deprivation. There is no such thing

as male domination, especially when

their food is cooked by a set of hands

grown tongues in place of fingers.


Previously published in Section 8 Magazine






Memories stand like Smaug.

Under its left breast,


missing a scale, was a hole

that no treasure of the mount


could patch. This is how the new

moon is tonight. Grey, enormous


lights fall unheeded 

as thick feet of heavy flesh


draw their route to the fires.

The plan was to burn the beast.


This is how memories multiply – 

like loyalty fraught on bases.


Previously published in Section 8 Magazine






Ashes all over the screen 

collecting like a carpet forgotten 

its floor. Dry winter arrives – 

throwing-away cleaning – somewhere

a land has grown plants. Here, the soil

can’t even utilize stray carcasses 

to crop. Birds visit barbers before 

they emigrate. There is a name for 

every thing on this planet,

the unconscious are wise

the subconscious be wild

the conscious offer caution.

And then, there is the moon

hanging on someone’s fence


Previously published in Section 8 Magazine



Sheikha A. is from Pakistan and United Arab Emirates. Her work appears in a variety of literary venues (magazines and anthologies), most recent being Uppagus, Pedestal Magazine, Visual Verse, Duane's PoeTree, and elsewhere. More about her can be found at



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