I wait to breathe first
aperture in the denied
unknowing I float
ensconced in your womb
patting me quiet
and tapping your palm
sturdily, in ordering,
against my gregarious
notions of coming out
free. You, with a touch,
guide my position –
the way I sit or curl
lest I stretch, breach
out of the little bag
you contain me in.
Your hands rest on me
than gentle; conveying
to me of my demeanour –
changes that need be.
You birth me trained
as I do breathe my first,
the air a heavier notch
and I look into eyes
that bear a joy
within quivering doubts
of what I’d be(come).
I grow with thoughts
in undisciplined realities
that you bridle
me to perfection –
beast. A mute
I were as I am
in a larger bag,
careful to sit, curl
lest I stretch, breach
norms of perfection;
in an animal’s park.
It sniffed. The scent of fish and corals
mingled with the limpid air.
The rest of the animals were asleep;
in ascent of the Netherworld’s hill steep.
‘Oh, for heaven’s sakes!’ cried out Star
from the sky that was night, with moon shining bright.
‘A pair of glasses is what you need.
Licking stones instead of stream!’
Looked up the dog squinting at the starlight,
‘Aren’t you pretty; like a cluster of dreams.’
‘I’m a bird. Not a dream. I flutter
the rings of Universe’s reams.’
scoffed Star at Dog’s weakening sight.
‘The bones of my eyes have become creaky,’
Dog rolled his head to wobble the eyes.
‘I can’t see your wings but five pointy sides.
A good fix is what I need, to begin.’
‘You’re not real, you phantom creature.
Ought to find the light and walk the crossing…’
Just then Dance marched in,
close to Dog. On its nightly surveillance,
Dance guarded the park.
‘Why do you soldier instead of ballet?’
confounded Star relayed.
Dance, the snobbish one, threw a snooty look to Star.
Dog, it ignored, as if not equivalent to par.
‘I’ve entertained the sands of this earth aplenty. Swirling
and spinning on my axis like a fairy princess.
‘The earth became a crude hunter. Grabbing my feet
to pull me under.
Tis the day I stopped and turned a soldier.’
‘Very well, Dance, your excuses pose valid.
I shine brighter than as many artists added.’
Dog looked blankly from Star to Dance.
Nodding and shaking its head like in trance.
‘I must be barmy for Star is a bird.
Dance is a soldier; this must be a dream.’
contemplated Dog lapping again at the pebbles.
‘If only some water I could taste.
My tongue is dry, I’m near waste.’
‘Oh for pity’s sakes! You’re a sorry state!’
Dance and Star berated both.
‘I’ll throw you the light. Enter it this time without fight.’
Dog scowled, voicing its moot,
‘I shall do no such thing…’
‘You, but shall,’ Dance interjected.
‘You’ve been haunting this park for eons,’ Dance concluded.
‘I’ve come to ensure you take the light this time.
Throw it down, Star; I’m ready to push Dog to its rightful line.’
‘Isn’t death a choice of a thing?!’ Dog pleaded.
‘I don’t wish to leave without a lick of water from fresh springs.’
‘Your ghost tongue cannot lap at anything,’
Star put on a tone of sympathy.
‘Come to the after(world) and there’ll be plenty.’
Dance touched Dog with a hand of empathy.
Real or pretence, a soldier’s job was to ensure the task completed.
‘Alright, throw me the straw, conceded Dog.
‘With a sigh, I shall bow to your brawl…’
Before the words were out of Dog,
Star cast the spotlight.
Dance patted Dog and promised the walk painless and fast.
Dog looked eagerly, one last time,
at the earth, sky and everything in between
when suddenly its eyes grew a vision sharper
for the moment that was brief, it saw the stream gusher.
Dog whimpered and wondered about heaven
as it knelt its paws to the glowing tunnel;
and turned its eyes to Dance and Star,
that watched its flight, grinning in power.
Sheikha A. is a writer currently based in Pakistan after having lived more than two decades of her life in United Arab Emirates. Her eccentricity keeps her biting her hair or nails (proverbially, ofcourse) in oscillating to ink because of which many thoughts tend to expire before birth. She has been published in Red fez, American Diversity Report, Open Road Review and five issues of eFiction India Magazine. She was also chosen First place winner on Poetry Sans Frontier’s poetry competition held by writer John Holland.
I find interesting your pace. The short lines speed by, but the words along the road slow down the reader’s mind enough to ponder them.