Alfaaz

Ghalib asks for a seeker of tongues

& a single anklet falls into the hare

-footed gray of the lily pond. Full days 

you were pebble or fin. Useful friction. 

Nights would pale as if swallows volar 

in a eulogy. What is time but a woman 

split from her shadow. There is water

beneath our dark. A coup d’état of petals

storming the drains. The jasmine buds to

be culled in a dire coveting. All of this

when the moonlight in its borrowed per

-fume will hoist our bodies into a paused 

cinema. Children still wrapped around sari

borders like snapped vines. Our names are

skeet to the catapult, a table for dead gods

—melancholia & salterns. Our names are

places where railway-stations have no  

signboards and the platforms are home

to a troop of monkeys wetting their tails

in dirty fountains. I say this to him & close

the door on a city I can enter only in memory.

Tomorrow the news will again cut its teeth on

the brutal alphabet of lynch mobs. My throat

will become a cave, the words will fall as rocks

damming any procession of language carried

within or outside.


Scherezade Siobhan is an award-winning psychologist, writer and a community catalyst who founded and runs The
Talking Compass — a therapeutic space dedicated to providing counseling
services and decolonizing mental health care. Her work has been or will be
featured in Medium, The Quint, Vice, Berfrois, Feministing, The London
Magazine, Pinwheel, DATABLEED, Winter Tangerine, Cordite
among others. She is the author of “Bone Tongue” (Thought Catalog Books, 2015), “Father, Husband” (Salopress, 2016) and “The Bluest Kali” (Lithic Press, 2018). Find her @*zaharaesque* on
twitter/IG/Facebook. Send her chocolate and puppies — nihilistwaffles@gmail.com