Poetry from Sheikha A.

The bridge shows no remorse

for willfully snatching out the stars
from the sorrow-worn face of the sky;

it eats no rainbows and won’t be intimidated

by pointy dentures of a defensive
but lion-willed night’s burning

having seen too many endless visitations
by blindness,

it does not fear bursting its concrete,
for its careless-picked

stones can only so much as fall into
the river begging by a pier

and be engulfed by a throat
knowing well the processes of deglutition:

the melting of saliva-acids

the journey towards warm blood.

High School

(after Madonna)

bad girls wore plastic pants
the colour of garbage bags

and nails done in neon orange
hair spiked in curls smelling
like a can of spray;

in lipsticks daring black or green,
we clad in oxidized silver
straight from Cleopatra’s grave,

never called us virgins in uniforms
that dared to bare our knees;

bad girls wore block heels
with ankle straps

and invented break-dances
at parties of boys, the party
with boys,

the younger we got
the bolder we became

the older we grew
the quicker we tamed;

when tear-ruined mascaras
were no more a fashion trend,

when brown leather jackets
were no good girl games.

Beauty’s Survival Techniques

Pinned like an over-waited breath
on a shedding leaf on the verge
of falling off its faintly-hinged,
the snow rested on the protruding
bones of shoulders that bore lines
of the water husks she carried to
fields. Her life was simple as it was
a laboured joyous until the beast
happened. All of a sudden, there
were flowers, sunshine and buffets
that would grow flesh between her
skin and bones. Fountains of sweet
milk sprayed over luscious grass
her un-shoed feet thought was
like walking on air. Her heart swelled
with dreams that changed the lyrics
of her songs, and how the want
of a measly rose proved a successful
shot of a mindless arrow in the air.
Now, it was a matter of learning –
cutting away olfactory glands
for initiating closeness; puncturing
the irises for when of moments of
gazing; pasting the smile from
ever becoming a grimace; clevering
the mind for his increased diversion
elsewhere; and learning a spell to
keep him madly devoted to the ends
of time.


Sheikha A. is from Pakistan and United Arab Emirates. Her work appears in over 90 literary venues, both print and online, including several anthologies by different presses. She edits for poetry for eFiction India. More about her can be accessed on her blog sheikha82.wordpress.com