Fatima Ijaz

SILENT SCREAM

 

When dissent like lightning enters the frail limbs of the night,

in the uproar of ferocious leonine howls

in the midnight turns of the heart –

that has finally prepared itself to laugh ceaselessly,

I sit by your side, loneliness, and conjure up the façade

Of moods and am of terrible minds. When I know

Certainly you won’t exit, the dream won’t come to pass,

Then I also know that you are the trespasser

the desert crows warned me about.

 

But still, I aspire into the solemn black hole of your empire

And seek out the significance of scattered lilacs.

There, alongside a paper-boat in a sun-drenched, stubborn

puddle, I list out the reasons of my absence.

 

I cater to the monsoon in a particular dark rhythm

I started playing truant along with the nursery rhyme

When the marches begin, I am plain visible as the scare-crow

Joker in a dealt hand of cards.

 

I crave the muscle fire of the working field

But nine swarthy cats cross my path:

In each life I am a broken idol,

Worshipped then forgotten.

 

Sometimes I sit by the fire and reminisce

But these times are golden like still paintings

Of sun-flowers. At times, I discern songs

In unfamiliar languages. I whisper to them:

It is to you I run to when silence overpowers me.

I am unable to step out of the lucid dream.

I am unable to count the stars on starry nights.

 

For Old Friends

We are walking on the asphalt ambiance of the road; there is nothing that holds us together, except the sun.

We several-turn and look at what is left behind. It is nothing but the rust of dreams and desire.

We run forward and our shadows dance in the wind.

When the rain comes, it drenches us to the bare, but our bones, they don’t interfere.

What you were then, is running past, what you are now.

We liken the maze to a free dive into oblivion, we make do with our regrets.

You can feel the night descend on cities broken with curfew, we are parallel in our sleep-ware. But we no longer care.

So it was that perplexed the blue-throated pigeon danced to wake us in the mornings. You didn’t waken. The engines of the day-time couldn’t rouse either.

We laughed at the way a citizen of nowhere now brought us flowers. In the times of love, you were distant like the waves on a terribly blue sea.

I gathered the ‘flowers of evil’ and sent them to prisoners, they hadn’t had enough to get by. But they were yours. So I apologize.

When we drink of the sun, let us be merry. For it is the same duality we have known for years. Your window is open, the lone canary sings.

I leave the whistle by the door. In its whistling parallel.

The poem refuses ink and I am thirsty for wintry double nights. Let us part ways again.

 

 

Fatima Ijaz, is a contributing editor at Pandemonium Journal. She graduated in English from York University and Eastern Michigan University and has taught English Composition and Speech Communication at IBA. She won first prize at the McLaughlin Poetry Contest in Toronto (2007). She participated in artistic collaborations, which were featured at Music Mela 2019, Art Baithak 2019, and Taseer Art Gallery 2020. Her poetry and prose has been published in New Asian Writing, Kitaab, Rigorous, Zau, Praxis, The Write Launch, Red Fez, Whirlwind and Naya Daur. She is currently collaborating with designer Sadaf Malaterre for an art project titled ‘Whimsical’.