Fantasies & Fiction

There’s a fantasy, at the surface of my spine

It flutters into your arms like a Gothic Romance choking on its own saliva

I spill the rainbows that you planted in my bladder ~ an acid leaves my body crawling on all fours,

There’s a lullaby growing in my belly & with every kiss, you extract a note from it until every syllable is infused with your name

A name this territory knows all too well, a fantasy that speaks my name like it’s the only poetry that matters; the only fiction worth realization.

-Nameera Anjum Khan

The Scream of a Deaf Girl (Short Story)

The wind never talked to me but she used to always tickle my stomach while I’d laugh like a maniac when I was a little kid. Sure, I had never heard her but she was my best friend. I think we both understood each other way better than most people would. They never heard me and similarly she had been rushing past deaf people all her life. Sometimes, we’d just sit quietly and look at all the people raving endlessly about things that never made much sense to either of us. I still remember the way she raged against my bare back that day. She carried my screams all the way down to the basement but no one came. She raged endlessly while my confused senses called hormones started to run and hide in blazing terror. He said he could hear the wind too but he lied. I know this because he never saw her drop the wooden tool box on his head as he ripped my dress apart, he never saw her until his head was smashed open and he lay on the cold bedroom floor, looking up at her big fluorescent eyes and illuminating body; he murmured something before death carried him far, far away from me (us). I think he said my mother’s name, our mother.

-Nameera Anjum Khan.

Lucid

The shivers rose from the deepest folds of my skin
He said it was the ghost of my past and promised to make it go
The man inside my head laughed his head off
Since then, I’ve never seen his head clearly except for a blur in its place
Mother said a prayer to make the ‘things’ go away
While it was just a premonition of what my life was to be
The coarse voice screeched in my left ear & all I could do was pray for death
No, mother; prayers never come true, death never arrived
Instead, my battered chest swallowed the weight of the air until the voices stopped
The next afternoon there was a bony hand clutching at my throat,
I opened my eyes to the sunlight pouring in through the purple curtains of my room
There was still the stench of sleeplessness hovering about the air
I reached out to the man once more, when there was still some lost hope left
He told me to kill all of it
I did

MY FIRST HEART BREAK

A burglary happened on your lips while you had your eyes closed. Maybe that’s why kisses are stolen these days, not planted. You say heart breakers are bullies who will never be happy again, tell me, what do you truly know about being one? We can be poets for all you know, making you cry out to your pillow with metaphors that confuse you because you just don’t want to face the truth. Confusion is the antonym for courage, the courage you lack because what will they say upon finding out that you’ve broken hearts before? It all started when I was thirteen, broken and in search of true friendship. Every person I liked already had someone else, being second choice was a dagger I had been carrying in my heart forever. This was my heart and it went right through it resulting in cracks that resembled a thunderbolt; a mute thunderbolt, one that inhaled and exhaled pretending life was a yoga exercise where some days you ace it or you don’t. It was all about the chance we took and the one we lost. I saw people finding a best friend, I caught myself staring in the mirror, telling a lonely reflection that all she ever needed was herself. People blamed me for being full of myself but I ask them now, where were you when I needed you most? When I, instead of hiding my true feelings and confusing you; told you how much a friend would mean to me, where were you when I wore vulnerabilities upon my sleeve? You were busy finding creative ways to judge me so I left because I was mean, arrogant and evil. You were shy, kind and hopeful but I wasn’t so I packed my luggage – emotions I mean and left without a dagger in my heart because by now, you had broken it in two.

When I was thirteen, a girl in my class broke my heart and today I liberate her from the tangled mess of my thoughts. She’s free to go, and I’m free to use the lessons she taught me. Thank you for being my first heart break, I hope yours would skip a beat right now so you can know that once upon a time; you were one of the reasons why I wanted to stop mine.

Heart breaks can come from friends as well, it doesn’t always take a boy to do it.

COLLECTING CAGES

My hands are stories you never read
Long, slender and painted red
An estuary within me connects to you
Not the whole ocean inside of me
Pandora’s Box lies safely in my stash
I lick the dust upon it to get a taste
They way you slid your fingers under
My sleeve
Made me swallow the suns for I
Believed
When your fingers were intertwined
In mine
I thought we would talk of irrevocable
Love
Yet you forced your way deep in
My skin
Digging a grave out of my elbows
And mounted upon my palms,
You broke the seal
Freeing the secrets within the box
This time
A man led to the ultimate demise
A man who has turned into my
Irrevocable disease
Memories of him is the trauma
I collect
Looking in the mirror, I forget
To reflect
My existence has become a
Prisoner to you
Wherever I see, whatever I touch
Morphs into a remnant of you

Love is the closest thing to magic
You never know when the rabbit
Disappears from the hat forever
Replacing ‘trick’ with ‘tragic’.

-Nameera.

 

A BANQUET WITH MY DEMONS

I saw fear huddled in the back with a hand pressed against his chin, altering the shape of his pale cheek. He looked beautiful tonight in a bow tie and formals, staring listlessly at the dancing duo, depression and insomnia going at it as though it was just the two of them in the gloomy looking hall with a high, ancient ceiling. Depression had a smile so wide that the corners of his lips were uncannily stretched whereas insomnia had her eyes shut while being swayed in exquisite motions that didn’t seem to bother her. Self-doubt was busy eating as usual; tonight the special main course served was his absolute favorite, confidence with a tinge of self-esteem. Anxiety played the morose violin that nearly put a sleeping spell over the guests. Fear had already dozed off. I slid in a chair next to him, watching, wondering, and thinking when a waiter drew beside me and offered happiness for desert. I took a bite, it tasted like my ex and cherry wine; I smiled. My friend sadness just joined the party! We sat atop the chandelier because it was my banquet and anything is possible here. She sang her mother’s lullaby while I wrote it down and together, we created poetry all night long as the demons of my mind busied themselves with celebration and laughter; fading a little as words set me free.

-Nameera.

 

SLIVERS OF THE MOON

 

Last night when I went to sleep 
God spoke to me
He said the moon is a gift
For me to seek light
Even in the face of darkness

I said to him,
But that’s the problem
Darkness has no face
It just is
And it spreads
Without my consent

He asked me to look hard
In the mirror,
Within the reflection you’ll
Find the face of darkness
Look closely inside the eyes
And don't blink
Because the deeper you go
Down the spiral staircase between
The whites of your eyes,
The clearer it becomes

The reason you can see
All the stars and the moon
Even at night
Is because inside each of you
There’s a sliver of the moon,
God said to me
As I woke up,
Smiling at the part of me
Hanging in the night sky
Lighting up my side of the
World.