Meena Alexander

ON INDIAN ROAD In memory of Agha Shahid Ali, 1949-2001 I I have come drawn to water, Rooks in trees preparing for winter A glazed horseshoe dropped a century ago, Bits of arrowhead From those who lived on this land, Who thought the sun and moon beloved companions. We were … Read more →

Farah Bashir

AN EXPOSED BREAST Back to a void That fills lives To carry us over the abyss From another life Into spring ever the season Of empty streets No children No laughter No songs echo Freedom is a child A bride A child-bride A flower mutilated by a mortar A black … Read more →

Ta-Ha Mughal

I START TO TEASE MYSELF ABOUT EVERYTHING I walk barefoot on burning coals Children hoot and giggle I too hoot phyew phyooyew I too giggle khi’h khi’hh khi’hhh I look ugly naked I watch myself getting out of me I am in a labyrinth of mirrors I am in truth … Read more →


FROG IN A WELL The well is too shallow Water too cold Sometimes light reaches down Sometimes they keep it away Bricks and stones Are the only refuge I have Some flowers have bloomed Their color is black My croaks echo my fate— Stay forever in this well? Fidoic is … Read more →

Mushtaque Barq

AGAIN there’s a strike in Srinagar, paramilitary beating the iron, soft flesh of human hearts, using their special powers to kill. Again, clouds discover the sun and we are forced indoors, gates of isolation bolted, windows of pain flung open. Again, the breeze brings breaking news— a baby blinded in … Read more →

Aquib Hyder

I REMEMBER I remember my childhood caught in barbed wire I remember the smile of a child lost in a curfewed night I remember the echo of his mother’s wail I remember her tears waiting for her disappeared son I remember the bride’s gown stained by the blood of her … Read more →

Saba Mahjoor

OMENS a hollowness inside slowing down of everything an awareness of every heartbeat darkness of the back room a comfortable blanket drying up of lips uncontrollable tears staring into empty space bouts of confusion sudden rage feeling of loss his eyes sinking further into their hollows nervous twitch of his … Read more →

Roqayah Chamseddine

SEPARATION We’ve spent our entire lives clutching passports, airline boarding stubs, evidence enough to hush the howling wounds that try with all their might to convince us we were dreaming far from your embrace. I can taste the bitterness of loving you as if I’ve spent days chewing the last … Read more →

Ankita Anand

VICARIOUS I smear my lips with red chili pepper, Salivate between my short breaths. Biting hard, the searing taste reassures me Of iron within my dream of hot pursuit. I wake up in a sweat, Pour my head into a bucket of water. Clamp down my nose and mouth Counting … Read more →

You Never Let Gods Die

Will Newman Each page is turned to enter grief’s accounts. Mother I see a hand. Tell me it’s not God’s. Let it die. I see it. It’s filling with diamonds. Please let it die. Are you somewhere, alive, somewhere alive, Mother? Do you hear what I once held back: in … Read more →