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Friday, October 31, 2014

anger management

i feel depression come on. like the flu. the grey creeping up the walls. into my feet from the ground. into my heart. pulling it down down down into the concrete.

friends will help it.

where did they all go? they got lost in the black.

i prop up cardboard fake silhouettes and talk to them. talk to me.

she hates me. both of them. old eyes. berating me for my lack of discipline and control. hating me wanting me to die and be gone from their lives. forced to have me live.


i lie in the grass, clouds pass overhead, the day is beautiful. flowers - i can smell them. i can hear my son playing not too far away, poking his new friend with some stick with a giggling joy only kids know how to experience.

i am so tired. i've been awake since 5 AM. my neck hurts.

i've sunk down down down into a rabbit hole that swallowed me. the sky is purple down here, grey clouds going fast fast fast. my son - i hope he's not here, its not a nice place.

she is here.

i can feel her before i see her.

the purple one. holding the fire in her hands. i have dreamt of her often, and here she is.

"i have waited for you a long time bitch"

did she say that or did i?

our voices are overlapping. she is me and i am her.

i am standing holding fire in my hands. i am purple. i am upstairs on the grass, help me God I am standing near my son.

i am going to burn him.

i am going to pour the fire into his brain, into his eyes, into his heart and sole. till he cries. till his soul bursts in pain. till he lives in hell on earth, infected with the rage of fire.



i have clawed my way back underground. i am tearing into my soul. clawing out my eyes. i have blood on my nails. i am fighting for something more precious than my pathetic soul. i am fighting for my son. she will not have him. not like she had me when i was young.

did i really have you little one? she says. or is it me?

my father is standing between her and me. she is pouring the fire into him. he is screaming, but struggling to stay silent so that i, 4 years old, do not wake up sleeping on the mattress on the floor of his room.

his mother before him.

his mothers mother before her.

i have waited for you. they all say.

pour it into me, we all say. spare the child. into me.

my brain bursts. fire pours out of my eyes, my nose, my heart, my soul.

it is done.

she is gone.

there is only me, on the grass, with the fire burning in the grey underneath.

i stand over him, my precious baby, my heart. my soul. my life. i am yelling at him. i am angry. he is looking with eyes that hurt - why is mama yelling? we are both wondering. stop poking him with that stick - my mouth twists and spit leaps out the sparks the words ignite. the fire is in me. i cannot keep it in. it pours out burning everything in front. how many burns can my little boy take before it enters him?

like i did. like those before me.

Sunday, August 18, 2013


my belly is full, comfortable heat thrumming from my insides

i'm walking through the field

the green is taller than i am

i look down and i have holes in me

boils in my flesh, from nails that were hammered in

but even though the scabs ooze pus, i am humming humming humming

i touch a flower here, a vine there

if i crane my neck high enough, there is a sky, and a cheel wheeling overhead

the nails are gone, and i have torn myself free, clawed out of the dirt and into the green green green

and i have a skip in my step

because i know my baby plays only a little ahead and i will see him soon

Thursday, July 18, 2013


i am standing on an abyss.
the edges crumble
its dark out tonight
the supermoon looms overhead
a wolf howls

i know its a dream then. how else would there be wolves?

it changes to a dog snarling.

suddenly there is beach sand under my toes
and the beautiful sunset that only karachi has

and i know it is a dream because i only dream of karachi now

my wrists are cut
blood drips down my hands onto my feet, into the sand
the waves wash it all away and i breathe deeply and i swear i can smell it like its real

i wake up still hearing waves

Monday, July 15, 2013


the breeze. the eternal breeze. she closes her eyes, and knows its a dream because of the breeze.

there is no wind here.

she is in a garden. suddenly it is still.

she hears a koel.

there is a tree. an old one. all kinds of plants overgrown. a vine, dripping down over everything. ivy on the brick walls. somewhere behind her back, the old house is there. the one with the doors within doors within doors. the one with the bay windows she's spent her youth sitting on. its been empty a long long time through, ghosts of servants past waiting for the mistress to return home. is she the new owner?

there is a blast.

she must hurry.

they're coming.

Friday, June 28, 2013


i am a superhero.

i wear shiny boots, have shiny hair, shiny belt, shiny eyes, shiny underpants
i have perky boobs, perky nose, perky bum, perky everything

i am soft
i am saggy
i don't own clothes that don't have poo, vomit or pee
i am a mommy

i can hold my pee for hours while i rock the baby

i can sleep only three hours and still be functional

i have slept only three hours for over a year now and am still functional

i can carry a baby, three times my bodyweight, and a carry cot, and still lock the house, open the car, and safely install everyone and everything in its place

i can work a job, and take care of the house, and not have any help

i can hold onto a spar that is myself, usually at ungodly hours in the night, and sigh and think


i am a superhero

Sunday, January 27, 2013


in my mind, it plays like this:

its dark. things hiding in the air.

am empty puppet with a little shiny triangle in his hand.

looks up from the fly in his net.

sees our little family, happy in our little pool of light.

comes shrieking towards us with beserk rage, hungry, clawing

i scream

clutch my baby closer. cower under the flimsy flimsy door. praying he will miss us.

a blast of light.

was it something i did right?

was it the prayers? mine or my mothers?

was it the sadqa lying in a little box to be given away?

was it my thought - give it to that little boy zeeshan. when zeeshan said, i'll give it later, i thought - let the onus be on you then sir. go with God.

was it just Allah having mercy.

it was just that - a flip of a coin. a shot fired. a shot unfired. something stopped him that second. wasn't his humanity. wasn't his fear. wasn't his uncertainity. wasn't our tinted windows. wasn't zeeshan's army jacket. wasn't a glimpse of a baby. wasn't my scream. something. that can only be. God.

thank you.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011


the green vine drips down, and i stare out the window watching the bees buzz in and out. what a perfect summer, sans wind. lahore drips with serenity, little boys swimming in a cold nehr, wasps stinging playing children, cuckoos calling and millions of birds whirring overhead. my numerous nieces and nephews play outside, much like my cousins and i did when we were little and my grandmother lived here instead of my parents. we've moved one generation on, my grandmother passing, my parents moving in, and now my kids, and my cousins's kids play in the garden like we did. circles while standing still.

when i was very little, on those rare occasions when i was allowed to go play with my grown up siblings and cousins, my mother would stand at the window and watch me. i would look over occasionally and be immeasurably reassured, and then immeasurably embarrassed years later when i thought i was too grown up for that. being the youngest has its down side.

the house was very different then, but so much the same. trees, real trees that you never find anywhere else. trees to climb, trees to fall out of, trees trees trees. trees with bugs you wouldn't want to go near, but invariably of you got pushed in starting outraged shakaits to adults. bicycles, races, kho kho, baraf pani and some unknown game called garden garden. do my kids today play the same games? the squeals, laughter, howls after scrapes and outraged fights over imagined injustices sound the same regardless. my youngest, so tiny, just having learnt how to walk, is running with the older ones, not even realizing what the game is, running towards the den instead of away. she falls often, and my heart breaks a little bit as she picks herself up on her chubby legs and brushes grass off her tiny little hands, and keeps on running. so little, yet so big. once in a while, she too looks over at me, as i stand at the floor to ceiling glass window watching the garden.

six letter word beginning with F

we're on a boat, the sea breeze whose memory haunts me in other cities is ever present, gently ruffling hair, blowing beautiful beautiful clouds over a pink and orange sunset. its a work thing, and even though we all bitched about having to see each other after a long hard day, we're all thrilled and a little giddy to be there. what a view. what great weather. its one of those evenings where summer is ending, and hints of the winter to come blow in the wind.

z is there. chatting with a group of people he doesn't know, as comfortable as a fish in water. i would die a thousand deaths if i left his side in a crowd i don't know. he says something, and the entire group laughs till their sides hurt. the new guy breaks away to get a beer, and happily jostles me at the cooler saying "hey your husband is hilarious!"" eyes shining with the fervour of newly meeting z. z has that effect on people. people tend to talk to me and be pleasantly surprised i'm not as bitchy as i look. z they love at first sight. like i did. oh well.

i'm watching the fish swim close to the surface, the pink reflection in grey water, and the wind in my hair, and my very pregnant stomach finally at some measure of peace after sitting cramped in front of a desk the whole day. a perfect ending to a long day. i sigh in contentment. just as z breaks away to go to the cooler, i feel something stir. "z!" i look over. he's noticed my expression and is already walking towards me. "i feel the baby kicking!" i whisper so others don't hear and get weirded out. i'm thrilled. i read somewhere there's a 50% chance of losing the baby in the first 6 months, and i'm convinced that one day i'll wake up and the baby won't be there. but its there right now. kicking! i didn't even know it had legs!

"wow baby!" z says, putting his arms around me and both his palms on my baby bump. he feels the kick too, and gives an awed choke. we're cheek to cheek, looking at the sunset, and i sneak a look at him. his eyes have this pole axed expression that says "wow, we made something real". he'd been worried looking at ultrasound alien lumps and not feeling anything fatherly.

right there, he gives me a quick kiss. on the lips! in front of work people, and boat wallas and everything! and i'm grinning so hard i don't care.

and then people come over to find out what the fuss is about, and there's a round to the upcoming footballer to be, and general people feeling my tummy to feel the bump and by then its too late baby is apparently exhausted and silent therefore in my tummy.