Sheikha A. (Western Voices 2022)

 Bio: Sheikha A. is from Pakistan and United Arab Emirates. Her works appear in a variety of literary venues, both print and online, including several anthologies by different presses. Recent publications have been Strange Horizons, Pedestal Magazine, The Ekphrastic Review, Silver Birch Press, Abyss and Apex, and elsewhere. Her poetry has been translated into Spanish, Greek, Albanian, Italian, Arabic, Polish and Persian. She is the co-author of a digital poetry chapbook entitled Nyctophiliac Confessions available through Praxis Magazine. More about her published works can be found at 


The night between the pines is imaginary 
like the name of the moon I haven’t yet 
seen from between the cloudy muck
of foibles the shadows have been feeding
me so far; I may have seen two in each night 
that followed, but my eyes have grown skin
over its irises – brown cataracts of fatigue
that watch the moon multiplying creating 
a ring of white stones on black parchment
with doused embers of burning stars piled
in the centre; it could be a memory
pulled out and hung on the loose nail
of the nine years I’ve spent in nebulous
transparency; the year that had just begun:
the origin of two thousand six – my present
hangs like an appendage of yesterday.


Several moons have hatched out of their shells
and hang like a string of pearls around the sky’s
svelte shoulders. The night has been leaning on,
breathing out its cold, apathetic heart into rings
of blue smoke that have been crowning trees 
tall enough for a coronation whilst the little
hobbit sized fertility stays close to ground;
the food is rich beneath the soil where the air is
less elevated allowing breathing to remain easy
and less laboured. Gravity is for moons that can
birth in traceable progenies bellowing its light
with undemocratic predilection. The art of flying
above clouds depends first on how well one sees
the clouds. The wingless are born with skins
between toes meant for flapping waters
and eyes large to fill their vision with dreams
the size of the moon seen from a distance. 

Like grand menial things

melancholy has imprinted its soul on mine,
the moon has impaled its light of death-kissed
colours on a moulting winter that has the path
I walk arrogated with snow, where every piece
of you I own lays scattered across an apathetic,
lonesome tar under a cold, frigid night conjunct  
with a wail-rampant sky, the whale of its echoes
which still live inside my bones held together 
by loose molecules of an adhesive called tears;
the salt has dried over my face like massacred
words that have bled off language to its belittled
form – litter to an otherwise dignified silence – 

1 comment :

  1. Always, Sheika A's lines never fail to mesmerize me, so rich with concepts. If I linger too long, I feel it rushing past me -- she's such a genius with analogies and images such as "with a wail-rampant sky, the whale of its echoes
    which still live inside my bones held together
    by loose molecules of an adhesive called tears; -- thank you for these three, I look forward to more as always!


We welcome your comments related to the article and the topic being discussed. We expect the comments to be courteous, and respectful of the author and other commenters. Setu reserves the right to moderate, remove or reject comments that contain foul language, insult, hatred, personal information or indicate bad intention. The views expressed in comments reflect those of the commenter, not the official views of the Setu editorial board. प्रकाशित रचना से सम्बंधित शालीन सम्वाद का स्वागत है।