Saturday 16 January 2021

Three Poems + Two Flash Fiction by Simra Sadaf


Wasted Youth


at the raw age of 21,

tragedy crawls

towards me like

a bare-assed baby

caked with dirt,

throws its hands

up in the air

asking to be held,

and I did.


at the hazy age of 23,

wanting to get rid

of the dirt stain

in my arms and

my T-shirt,

I go to the

nearest mosque,

wash my hands

and do my ablution,

but the “faithful ones”

were triggered,

said I am leaving

blemishes on the

prayer mat.


at the dire age of 25,

my Adam’s apple

is slowly being

sucked in,

my spine steadily

disappearing as

I roam around

this godless town

in search of a




at the crippling age of 28,

my tragedy and ache

find a home,

it is shiny and warm,

I have since been

learning God’s language,

and the night’s mouth

does not engulf

me anymore,

it kisses me,



at the brittle age of 30,

my cocaine infused

arteries now host

a venomous

snake bite,

and as the dawn

falls far away

from my sight,

I scream under the

bubbling bath tub,

“annihilate me, God,

I love every second of it”





Existing through


a feeling like

the last leaf,

I know the winds

are never kind,

so I press my hands

against the soil,

and ask it to

be gentle when it

swallows me,

my skin is sensitive,

I said, it has never

known warmth,

or snow.


I have forgotten


or what else a human’s

throat could do but

itch and swallow pills,

I sit in my room

every six hours,

swallowing them,

so my chest

doesn’t stifle,

or my gut

doesn’t writhe,

or my mouth

doesn’t freeze,



I have always loved

the words gentle

and perennial,

but you are neither,

neither are these

poems I hide behind,

or the breeze that

smells like kerosene,

sometimes your

remnants are like


and I am a field

full of explosive

land mines,

and your feet

are never still,

just like your



As the sun’s neck

sits on my rib cage

every morning,

burning like

the city of Rome,

burning the walls,

burning my book

with 30 poems and

a song about

summer rain and


burning my nicotine

stained fingertips,

my skin,

everything is burning,

your repentance is

not enough to

put out the fire,

my pearled eyes,

my ventricles,

my books,

not my books.



Someday, A Wednesday


rainy poetry nights, lilac fragrance,

or golden September mornings,

what are you made of, I wonder.


ash-cinder volcanoes, lava flows,

or the vastness of your silence,

what burns more, I wonder.


rusted embrace, the fall of Rome,

or an empty bookshelf,

what you look like when you cry, I wonder.


Woolf’s suicide letter, Dobby’s death,

or you looking right through me,

what hurts more, I wonder.


Messi scoring a goal, Big Ben on a sunny day,

or the smell of rich leather,

what makes you happy, I wonder.


broken meteor, a tiny whisper from God,

or tulips showering from the sky,

what will unite us on a Wednesday, I wonder.


17 Syllables


The day I realised poetry has a face was also the day I learned that a plain white shirt could send goosebumps and a spectrum of colours inside my rib cage, you smelled something sweet, the odour of your deodorant, something musky, and beneath all that, a scent as fresh as the morning dew.


You looked right through me, you shut a paperback halfway through the story, leaving it unfinished, not really bothered about the characters, do they kiss on a September dawn causing Orpheus and Eurydice to smile and look down at them from the cotton candy clouds, or does ignorance pull them into a gravity-defying abyss, and the agony permanently settling inside her smoke-filled lungs? Now you will never know.


In prayers, I have said your name a thousand times, a secret kept just between my tongue and lips. That day I looked at you and whispered something you needed to know, gently, in a language understood only by the prophets. I wonder if you heard me right.


Am I loving you wrong? Is that why it’s taking my voice and my yearning a sea to crawl to reach you? And since I have nothing else to offer, here is a haiku, 17 syllables that you will never read -


time is collapsing

the room is getting darker

I need light — come home


Kite and Manjha


I want you to call me a mad poet when I write a sloppy P in a ruled book that I hide under a black cloth. One that Amma hands me to cover my head, the other that wraps your eyes.


Then I write the letter O chubbier than your niece’s dimpled cheeks and hope that one day you would need me the way a kite needs Manjha to kiss the wide sky.


When I stretch E’s last line, I remember typing an Eid Mubarik message, the thought of hitting the send button cut my body in half— the religious part believes my 3am prayers would change my Qadr, the other half likes to dip its mouth in raspberry vodka.


The vertical line doesn’t touch the horizontal one in my T, the way your lips don’t meet when you say Allah Hafiz. I keep seeing your hand waving goodbye at me like the last leaf swaying on its own.


I write R a little farther from T, because a POET is never close to anyone but other poets who romanticised death so much that they kissed it once and for all. One day I’ll tell you how Shams walked miles looking for Rumi, how he made his poems/emotions fathomless.


Y looks like the road that’s in front of your house where a mango tree is ignorant of coconut tree’s presence, or maybe the former is just arrogant because it’s the king of fruits, but I crave for your arrival more.


You’ll find the notebook full of scattered prayers, sketched jawlines and poetry where God resides in semicolons. I’ve built your name holier than the mosque my father goes to pray for my destiny, and I to come alive in the last three letters of your name.


Simra Sadaf has finished her Masters in English Literature from University Of Madras. She writes short stories and poems for magazines. She pursued her bachelors in Sociology and has an abundant knowledge about the workings of a society which she incorporates in most of her writings. She reads books of all genre and likes to review them on Goodreads and other social media platforms. She loves the art of storytelling and someday hopes to write something that will leave a lasting impact on the readers. Literature drives her spirit and words churn her soul.

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