All posts tagged: Spillway

“After a deadly aerial engagement, a cup of tea” by Shadab Zeest Hashmi

Past the news of war, you sleep in a litter of cacophony knowing the dead will forever bind their miasma to your hair knot their shrouds to every hook in the house, hem the sound of sirens to your head Between tonight’s brocade sky, inked textile of tomorrow, and tomorrow, there will be an hour of war, creeping like a reptile across the fields where two countries grow rice with their backs to each other and fly kites this time of the year to welcome spring The sort of night an emperor could create from the shudder of mortality a marble mausoleum to house his love after death— moonbeams sewing the lips of loss, light swirling through filigrees, carved tulips and fruit buds, turning time to flesh — it is early spring, you too feel a tingle in your fingertips, tremble a moment like a Shalimar cypress, but the masonry of your body is recalled when warplanes approach, when all around you are loved ones asleep, and what the newscasters will later call aerial engagement …

‘A Glass of Tea, a View of the Atlas’ by Shadab Zeest Hashmi

Trade An assortment of crooked and straight arrows for the crest of a bulbul or a handful of sesame Uncut turquoise for juices of scorpions and glow worms A dozen poisons for an embroidered collar/ a pinch of saffron/ abalone knob Spotted eggs for knotted shoes Peacock feathers for beet sugar How much fur will buy cloves for my toothache? How many sprigs of mint/ radishes to restring your rabab? The market is spinning between us How much of us has been stolen by the ghosts of aromas? When night comes there is spinach again for the promise of quail Your dream of cake feeds on wild berries You kiss my cold shoulder I comb out the market from your hair A Glass of Tea, a View of the Atlas   You give me Fez honey on Fennel cakes in a ceramic saucer because you say, to eat from this bitter clay (glazed and caressed with geometric precision), will draw me into the shapeless sob of the future. You read invasion’s epistle even in the …