Huma Sheikh

Not Shadows

About my past life, my American friends
shake their heads, blinking.
Pints of shadows fall,
a mother’s womb swept bare.

Some things are good unseen.
They see nothing that looks
like that girl I was, cherry- dappled cheeks, fingers curled around
my mother’s hand,
unclenching, picking on an elephant bell
ringing in the window,

the swinging branches of childhood
suspended in space,
ivy penumbra of the days of our siege. War in Kashmir.

But my American friends, mimic, visualize;
a floating flame, a grenade, from the old kitchen window
before a thud, mirror like branches in the wind.

Mother’s screaming locked in tarnished silver pots.

Daddy’s away.
In the mirror, I see his remains,
pluck my sideburns,
the red veins in my hand, a reflection of Daddy’s lifetime,
growing thicker and thicker in his absence.

 

 

 

Join the conversation