Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Riddles of the Night Falcons

—Poems by Sheikha A., Karachi, Pakistan
—Photos by Caschwa, Sacramento, CA


There are red ribbons tied to the door
tonight: charity for spirits. Was it

considered before setting loose
someone else’s conscience

like a wrath on my gate, that I
wouldn’t know your embryo

rose from black iron. Now, your son’s
feet scrape against doors;

his is a grave of amorphous cries,
the singing of shunned crows;

water it with your cold wails,
let him call your name aloud. Go

like the unconfessed restraint,
take the son of the son with you,

place him on his father’s burning
feet, and notice his eyes bead

like the black mouth of an open well
glinting like a wolf’s sight on prey;

then come back to my locked destiny—
my face: a valley of several ghosts.


Your eyes are kohled riddles
of the night falcons. Hospitality

is the second name for prolonged
architectures in your city. I have

walked the squares in circles
from the time my inner cheeks

would blister from excessive eating
of hard-skinned yellow dates. There

is a stirring of immediate resurrections
in your sands. Children where I live

threaten lawsuits as humour. The pits
of black olives are no different

from green’s, and if you pick them raw,
trees won’t protest. Love is a silent

coincidence between hearts; treated
like a band-aid, placed and removed

with an iodine solution—the lips
will wince as the eyes push back

the sting. I am still filled with
visions of your bulbing rains,

how they now clump into textures
of snow—an unimagined phenomenon

to happen to sun-trimmed roads.
Where I live, we have been

burgled of weeping skies, digging
floors of homes in search for canals. 


Tell me about the scarps
you visited in your time away
and the steps carved across
both sides of your face;
a river ripples seismically
on your forehead—a scar—
scabbed down by the dusts
of your travails: allegory.

Your eyes like asthmatic
dunes of a struggling desert
whittling against sun and wind,
and your lips: line of oasis
on heat-blurred horizon(s).

Bridled. Broken. Barbed.
Bottled. Belittled.

Tell me you suffered

so I satiate
and slide back into my self-
constructed perfunctoriness. 


Brooks push back to ponds
before fish mob gateways.
The fireworks have broken
the terraces of houses drilled
of holes from bullets by guns
that went off in practice.
There is rumble in the sky
as if the buildings in heaven
greeted a bomber. Now, there
is water spilt everywhere.


There are clothes to wring tonight.
I didn’t think bad dreams were
addictive. From not having seen
a man and woman become animals
in puddled mud, I have been wishing
for some bad to happen, worse than
the bad happened to anyone else,
or even up-scale torture. Just so I get
benediction. I have been washing
soap off clothes in waiting— 

       for em em eye

Fold my wish into carving souls;
old as the falcon looking sea wave
receiving storms like prejudiced guests.
Sometimes the right thing to do
is let distances set in. Pages of a calendar
are held together by spiral rings—
the layout of avenues, routes liquefied.
Musky scents of moist dough rising
in a bowl—this is how rain binds soil.
Sometimes the only thing to do
is bring versions: the least unacceptable
conduct. Men of phantom tongues write
honourable verses, women of clenched
intents line them with graves. Some
ghosts are bold enough to leave,
they don’t believe in living
inside the clock.


Today’s LittleNip:

I’ve always associated the moment of writing with a moment of life, of joy, of unexpected reward.

—Seamus Heaney


—Medusa, with thanks to Sheikha A. for her fine poetry today, and to Caschwa (Carl Schwartz) for his beautiful spring-blossom photos!

 Sheikha Doodle
Celebrate Poetry!)
Sheikha is from Pakistan and United Arab Emirates.
She has been published in over 100 literary venues so far,
both print and online, including several anthologies
by different presses. More about her can be found on

Photos in this column can be enlarged by clicking on them once,
then click on the X in the top right corner to come back
to Medusa.