The House Yawned

a creamy white yawn
of the unsuspcting
woke up
The bill boards
blocking the façade
peeled away
like an onion skin.
Just a tenth of
opaqueness between
you and the world
of the mall road
dear house
Where millions
of humming
cancerous cars
We played together
Hide and seek in
your calm
cobwebbed corridors
eighty green years ago.
Now memory is a rusty key
To what
I know not.
Nothing on the other side.
We are but scattered seeds
Unhappening to happen again.
My grandchild has my hands.
The marbles, whorly planets
tap tapping against
the wooden floor.

An Affair with Porcelain Turtles

a/ I am looking for my lost voice
for telling a story of my secret love affair with porcelain turtles and …

I do not know what to keep

Love friendship or sex

It’s easier when it’s trivial

like stitching papers with a stapler

or cutting clippings from the newspaper on things

that matter in the long run….

What is it that really matters in the long run?

Money comes, money goes. Friends come, friends go

And love is too abstract for any kind of explanation

It’s easier when you’re good at giving a heart

My porcelain turtles say, what’s in front of you
is only the beginning of a vast horizon:

a peasant man waiting to take me for my ride to office,

a wide cup of latte & sudden appearance
of a scholarly man in the café I’d loved,

a small cup of tea & a cabin girl on the chair next to me telling me to go faster

a table with many chairs and some new folks tuning into my lost voice

b/ You heard a woman on television say once,

“It’s only sex, not a space rocket launch!”

Buses, prams, trains and planes have schedules

no one waits

for late comers

Deadlines are flashing on every news channel

You cannot afford to rush

to meet your match, your crush, your lover and friend

You are at the back of your race and it’s only the waves

catching up with you, carrying you and cleansing you of all the dirt on your body

and keep going, keep going, keep going back to where they came from

leaving you at a signal station where you are lost for words again

to tie up this little band-

width of friendship we have scaled.



Not even in footnotes can I encompass
my sense of expansiveness since
you left. Funny

I stayed away from writing countless
when we loved. It wasn’t merely
friendly antipathy

to low kins of romance – it was how much
you wanted that representation.
That I scratch tree

barks has more to it than cute. That Sindhi
meal you wanted
to make
eat was more you

(hunger). I’m hungry since you left
I’m vast. Enough to devour
you if I choose

Only you’d chalk my cannibalistic to
more craziness. Scratch
that tree and

find me eccentric flesh erratic blood. Since
you left I can plot with peace and
not be accused

conspiracy. The creek is more vivid to me
appropriates serene and
cleans little

worms in memories practising pain. One
day I’ll write you a song of

moment I’m graphing sense of insides also
absorbed in mild grass sun me
(I am large)

I’ve been afraid of confronting you in
countless but since you left
this came on auto

I even speak of it to people I don’t know
too well.

Watch Where You Point That Thing


Her body presents itself, the product of her life. A life which happens to involve a body, but does not require the obsessive presentation of body; body concentrated so heavily in the top layer that it slithers off in dark moments alone. She is anchored to her chair, planted on the grass in front of the fake backdrop.

Her body presents itself, product of a life; but she does not look as though she inhabits anything from the neck down. The body sits there, imponderable. What is it to her?

The answer is in the gun. Her body is in the gun, resting on her knees. She is playing a trick on us. She is pretending that she isn’t there, that she’s no threat; but that body is powerful. It can point to other bodies and hurt them. She doesn’t even need to grip the gun very tightly. It can dangle down, slightly, romantically, barely restrained from slipping down, a sly, slick message. Look at her innocent face.

This is called women’s ventriloquism of power.

God help me if I were ever loved for sending my body elsewhere, into other objects; into cooking, or a perfectly clean house, a top layer of muscle, accomplishments, or pages of text. God help me if someone ever loved me for polishing my body down into a layer of its meaning.

Love me for my gun, my cooking pot, my words and my insight, all shot, cooked, written and penetrated into my particular set of gut and muscle.

Give me a body that can stay planted and receive.


The above photograph, which is the inspiration for this poem, is borrowed from the series ‘Woman as Photography Model: Qajar Period”


parti hoon namaaz do raqaat ki
waqt fajr, farz adaa wajib
allahu akbar
allahu akbar
allahu akbar
bismillah hirrahman nirrahim

I wear hijaab under my skin
It’s the sort of purity that allows you to sin
Protect where you are, hide where you been
farz adaa wajib, qurbatanallah

ashhadoan la ilaha illallah
I paint my skull black
ashhadoan la ilaha illallah
I paint my skull black
ashhadoan la ilaha illallah
for this I get much flack
ashhadoan la ilaha illallah
tiny flakes skitter down my back

We wore our bodies like clothes
Sucked on the toes that stuck out in rows
Put on the attar and smelled like the rose
Did He hear our prayers only He knows

I am the mother who did not die
To this sort of truth there is no reply