By Maheen Hyder


A steam ship leaves the coast in Kadıköy

slipping into a tunnel of sun     as I count ways

to forgive shrapnel      for stealing your heartbeat


Metal pushes     into a startling pull     pitch crawls

down a lung    A galloping of eyelashes    is how I imagine

breath    siphoned from     your body


Silence    is a sort of running too    In a city of hills

pointing myself skyward     feels like a betrayal    This life

was never supposed to be possible     without you


Here I am    two years    since staircase teethed

your silhouette     into disappearance     Silver found

in your belongings     scratching a tremor in me


It would have been     a good marriage     quiet

carcass of fists     pulsing with worship     Our litany

for survival    bread     is ballot     is safe house


Still     I miss the lemon extract     in our tea     sitar player

outside the window     tulips folded     into your pocket

all ragged     and pink     me refusing      to look up

to take anything     not steeped     in your touch




Maheen Hyder is a Pakistani poet and clinical social worker currently living in Toronto.