Escape, 2020

A woman scribbles with the movement of her pen
is able to change what’s unpleasant
and describes only water that drips below
or birds that sing above
a melody forcing her ear to pay homage
as she writes of sun rays lighting
the earth with yellow, green, blue
all the while avoiding thoughts of the virus
raging outside or asking if the pandemic
will bring humanity to its knees

Books

Of tears, exclusion, pain
among the darkness
sometimes comes the ray
from lives of tumult
the turning of pages
pen to paper to survive memory
with this, books are made

“Saved from Summer” by Ayesha F. Hamid

She welcomed the end of summer’s oppression,
the pressure under, over, everywhere
having cooked her from within.

In summer, the sun weighed down, disheartening from dreams,
while the wandering, distracted mind meandered
wished to be someplace else,
wished to be free, somewhere else
where she was listened to, was esteemed,
someplace else where she never had to fear being suspect
for being something less than ideal
a place she wanted to welcome on hot skin
like a perfectly cool breeze.

“Girls on Trains” by Ayesha F. Hamid

Searching in cities, walking aimlessly,
looking for the past, she breathed in
remembering what she used to be,
believing, supportive, free.

Scanning faces futilely, she braced herself
for the realization that they really
weren’t the same faces though they appeared to be.
The ghosts haunting her wouldn’t easily
be excised, the torture of what could have been
will always continue to stay within.

“The Sheltering Self” by Ayesha F. Hamid

As the water dries from disillusioned eyes,
something else emerges,
the other self I’d submerged.

She takes her chance to seep all the way in,
flourishing, allowing me release.

What good did being good get me but grief,
that woman has long enough grieved.

Where being good drowned me,
she helps me breath
standing to give me peace
protecting me from hereon in
a sheltering self,
tough enough to face the world’s ignominy.

Maybe, one day, I’ll allow you reprieve
but not now, dear. I’ll hold you close
watching you as you rest after trying your best.

How I love to see you sleep
while I grow strong, the bad seed.