On the Death of a Sensation

I have spent four years in an all-women’s university. In these four years I have seen girls trick the guards and join their dates waiting right outside the gate. Friends were always lurking nearby with one eye on the escapee so that they could run for aid when summoned. Later, the friends celebrated the labels of broad mindedness and even shared the chocolates brought back by the victorious escapee. I have heard girls Janu-ing and chada-ing around on phone calls and hardly have I known a girl who didn’t gloat off having a sweet-heart. Half of the women in the university didn’t cover their heads and half of the other half threw their apparently suffocating niqabs once they were out of their family’s sight. Male sweepers, guards, drivers, conductors, clerical staff and male teachers didn’t matter then. Today, the same women celebrate the death of Qandeel Baloch because they very rightly uphold the honor and integrity of women which Baloch failed to do so. Their opinion endorses such murders because they can’t let adulterous women defame other women. Hats off to the double standards. Can I toss a moment of celebration towards such pious and educated women? Not more than a moment though because we need to hurl a long time of festicity at the devout and Wali-ullah males of our society who loved to watch her videos but are rejoicing in her death. Was it not the beauty below the face that Baloch revealed that made her videos go viral and receive millions of views? Where was the ghairat of men when they watched those videos? Stop posting ur empty feelings of happiness on Baloch’s death because u believe she was a beghairat. Everyone knows you are going to miss the videos of the beauty because you are Mufti Qawi too. SHE IS DEAD NOW LEAVE HER ALONE.

IT AIN’T LOVE

Shit. Did my heart just skip a beat? Too mainstream. I know. In any case, it did. IT REALLY DID. Poor you, Cupid. You missed another arrow. Clutch on to your diapers, babe, watch as I drive faster.

Does he know my whole world swirled when his eyes flashed in my direction? Frustrating! He looked at me and then looked away. And my entire world flung itself on to me in that one second. Just as I staggered, I saw him looking away like the tornado he tossed at me wasn’t his. QUIT LAUGHING CUPID, you diapers baby. IT WAS NOT LOVE.

Does he remember I was about to step on his shoe? My husband remembers how I stepped on his. Oh how I fell some more as he caught me. So dramatic it was. Tch tch tch, Cupid! Remember how your arrow missed me as I fell in his arms?

Does he know his eyes dug something inside me? Does he know that he reminded me of my husband but he was nothing like him? Does he know I kept looking at him and he didn’t even realize he had twirled my whole world? Does he know, now that he has stopped coming, I miss his penetrating eyes flashing towards me? Does he know how I smile when I see him struggling to read me? Nah cupid, it was NOT love.

I was NOT in love. I just loved the way he struggled to dig deeper and deeper. I loved how his eyes could do that. Does he know I wait to play this game? Does he know I wait for him to dig deep and find nothing? That’s all I own. I have never felt this way before but he has vanished. I don’t even know his name. My heart has never felt this way but this ain’t love. This …

“OUCH. HOLY SHIT. FUCK YOU CUPID. THAT – ARROW – HURTS.”

Sketches in his Drawer

On that cleaning day
When the late spring heat broke
In my house, the cool water splashes
Sounded over the sound of dragged
Furniture, and I sung alone.
Cinderellaizing myself with
The mop and giggling at the joke
I pushed the loud table in place,
And stood somewhat bowed, index finger
Flying noticeably all around. ‘Now, Now’
‘You little thing, making noise?
What is it that you hide?’
(A funny mother am I).
On that same cleaning day
I have let my finger lay
On my jaw, as I tried to look
Thoughtful and flipped through
The sketches in his drawer.
I rummaged through the drawer
And colored the gray sketches
One by one, then swelled my
Nose on the paper, drew the wrinkles
I possess and finally, rubbed the
Curves off the sketches.
On the dinner table I hid my smile
In the water glass as he looked
At the sketches, and hid his fury
In his plate. I grinned at him
Because I was no more a sketch,
In his drawer. He grinned back not
Because I was no more a sketch,
In his drawer.

 

To the Night Horses

The nailed dim stones of cocoa have run,
Plunged into mountains, dove into sun,
Touched the opposite side of sun in eyes,
Filled desert sands and molded ice.
Just the wild of her mystery woods,
The green of evenings in gallant hoods,
Just the hooves stamping the soil,
And on the stallion, the regal attire
Have known the army of stallions brown
The long hair cut, so the crown
Legends of a prisoner, a lady, a rider
A knight of nights and daytime fighter.

Locked With a Stranger

I.

My knees tingle on the rug
Yet, I continue filling
The little tea cups
With lies.
It’s water, not tea
Be that as it may,
For my plastic doll knows not.
‘Time for bed’, says my mom,
I drown my lies in sink,
Toss the doll in toy box,
Let my stuffed Jerry
Lie on the plastic curves,
And close the case cover.

II.

‘Sit straight’ says my father,
And I do.
I get kisses on the red,
Splendidly round cheeks,
Complete the last bits of egg yolk,
Get more kisses,
A spot on father’s lap
And consent to ride the cycle.
In my shorts and top,
Little music shoes,
And funky colored tricycle,
I run out and
Let little Tom have a try

III.

Unusual Sunday night of finished homework,
I open my toy box,
Free the poor plastic doll
From under Jerry’s weight of cotton,
And squeeze his tummy.
The hard box yells ‘I Love You’ thrice.
The painted grin on my doll
Appears to thin and fade.

IV.

I complete the last bits of yolk
However, daddy doesn’t kiss.
I don’t fit in his lap anymore
And wear baggy shirts.
My doll lies in the foresaken toy box
Visited not so often
Buried beneath Jerry’s weight.

V.

My cheeks are hollow.
I have grown fairly tall,
‘Beautiful’, ‘nice’ and ‘pleasant’.
I sit straight, walk humbly,
Have made Tom a stranger
Unloved him as asked
And abandoned my cycles.
When I am out
My face is veiled.
I speak in a low tone
And let my hands tremble
When I put down the tea tray
And walk out, aware,
Of the X-Ray machines on me.
I pass the test.
I am a good girl.

VI.

I walk out of my house, unveiled,
After countless years of cover,
And let a non-Tom touch my hand.
I steal a look at his face:
Pretty reasonable, I think.
The red and golden heavy suit
Makes it difficult to walk
But my sister helps me by sharing the weight.
I walk in a new house, which
Looks like my toy box, just bigger,
And think of my plastic doll
Under the heavy weight of Jerry.

Named, Not by Her.

I have quieted my shouts
Stuffing them in that gem box
Still to be inked in dark.
I have quieted myself into
The surrounded shouts,
To that sound of relaxing,
Secured more than ever.
I have pushed it all
Under my bushy swollen purity,
Not cried, not even when
I have been pushed,
Tossed against the white sheet
Reddened in her blood.
I have listened for the gasping
Smelled for the blood
And the scent of those walls
That have enclosed me in
Just minutes prior.
I have been set in wrinkly arms,
Without the snugness of those walls,
That essence of all sustenance.
I have been named by a wrinkled voice,
Far from the white sheets
Diagrammed in red of torment.
Only then have I cried,
Without opening my eyes.