In the Shadows of a page

Do you ever wonder what you look like in someone else’s poem? Is it some made-up version or reflects who you truly are?

If you ever want to know yourself better, read yourself through someone else’s letters and poems. It may seem as though you’re reading about a stranger but if it doesn’t, then you know that you belong there. In that moment of creation, your spirit was complete.

What you hold in your hand is a page, only momentarily. Soon it morphs into endless dreaming and hopeful possibilities.

It becomes a page that is no more that – but something that lives, it is not a thing anymore; but something that breathes you.

-Nameera Anjum Khan

of independence & french fries

i grew up as independent as the roof on my head,
but i still needed the walls to float

i sometimes feel like the plants sitting
outside my window,
just observing my life
maybe this is just an astral lie
or maybe im a stray dog looking for a
shed to sleep under

im a window breaking a thousand times
just to come to terms with this strange insult that is growing
in my poems

im the eye balls rolling on the ground
and disappearing under the carpet, a
divorced paper waiting for a signature

significance,
i like big words and synonyms, i wish i
could find one for my brain
i wish i could nurse the soil that
weakens the bold cracks that are quick
to assume the joy in
every dark shade
of life

this out of control window to my soul
makes me want to fall into a sickness,
i can’t name it tonight
it’ll be a different poem tomorrow

let it fester, let it fester like the fading
smell of french fries on a wintry afternoon,
my little revenge lives every season but
in winters, it eats me

i wish it would chew me too but it eats
me whole
(greedy bitch)
in a stomach, i write about a heart
pretending to be my roof

i write about the bliss sliding under my
clothes, it’s too cold for it to come out, it
sleeps

i grew up independent, inside myself
i grew up, in as much space as i could
take and they could give,
i outgrew
i died;

in the throat of grief, as she drank sobs
to encounter cracked ceilings and
disfigured djinns coming out of their
holes in my bedroom wall

french fries in the rain,
and a cup of tea, please.

-Nameera Anjum Khan

Of Women & Moonlight

A land that pushes women to the stature of a Goddess

Is also adept at pulling them down when necessary

This reminds me of necessities that arise out of despai

A colony of ants climb the hills that reek of sweet sanity

Between my knees are bruises that never healed

Between my palms are lines of sweat that never left any empty space

‘Push, push, push’ – “It’s a moonlight wailing in birth and blood!”

How do I tell them,

That it’s the moonlight wailing at the prospect of illuminating silently, humming songs of anger that sound like sweet sanity?

It’s another bitter Goddess biting her fate, watching the poison take nefarious shapes in her throat

Until the day she takes back her throne,

Until then there’s only a sip of hope.

-Nameera Anjum Khan.

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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.

A Sigh of Freedom

The distance is a mist eddying upon my thighs

She plays the lyre that resembles eternity

Grapes have been growing around my wrists

My feet taste like oranges swallowed by the steps they take

The portrait of a holy tomb stares at me

I feel my shoulders turn into minarets

My stomach morphs into a call to the right side

This voice is God’s omen raining down on my face

I look up to the skies and I see blue skies free from the politics I’ve left behind

The earth behind me wails in the echoes of hopeless civilizations

I don’t rage anymore

I’m free from your shackles, I was always my own call for freedom, love and acceptance

-Nameera.

Innocence

It was but a flame,
A tiny speck of dust.
But once untamed,
You ran out of luck.

It knew no control,
It’d perish for sure.
It wasn’t a mere stroll,
Against it you were lured.

It began with a revolt,
That dawns with age.
You were a thunderbolt,
Satiating youthful rage.

As years went by,
It left you unsatisfied.
Teaching lessons for life,
It was an emotion that died.

-Nameera.


Lessons remain, innocence fades away. Its end may never be in sight but we do feel the absence that lingers upon its exit.