“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.

“Escape on Saturdays” by Ayesha F. Hamid

Saturday’s ritual is discourse and diners,
when we talk while walking to
our regular hangout, The Green Kitchen.

We exit the pressure cooker
as worries are left at the door.

Forgetting brimming calendars,
we find a space of solace
where it’s just you and me,
fresh silverware and an easy cup of coffee.

Now protected within peaceful parameters
the havoc halts as we talk and laugh and breathe.

“True Friend” by Ayesha F. Hamid

When you thought you could stop caring
for people who never cared for you,
but then realize you will always care
because that is what you do,
as long as your heart beats
and red blood pushes
forward and through
into your body
into your mind,
a kaleidoscope of care and concern,
your heart filled with the need
to hold everyone up, to make sure
that no one is left behind in life
or suffering from strife.
Those who betray never care
about leaving you there,
though you still do, faithful forever,
bearing much, a true friend
from now until the end.

“Fear” by Ayesha F. Hamid

The eighteen wheeler drives by
red, green, and blue on the sides
speeding on, screeching at turns,
causing a fear of life,
a fear of death, a feeling which turns
as the wheels turn
sounds drilling down
deep into marrow before hitting the ground.

The truck passes, the sound dims
so all the fear felt quiets and passes.

Regret is realized as all that time
that was swept, the fear taking away
most moments till nothing was left.

“Simplicity” by Ayesha F. Hamid

I wish I didn’t think of you every time
I ate ice cream but I’m reminded
of the ritual of dinners on Fridays,
and the ice cream afterwards.

If only vanilla or strawberry had sufficed
we wouldn’t have had that fight. 

We could have continued
to talk and laugh and thrive
a whole world left for us to explore
though to traveling with me,
you always said no.

Simply put, simple flavors never interested you.

Everything you wanted had to be the best,
complex, like cookies and cream
with chocolate sauce, butter pecan with
whip cream on top, little edible masterpieces
for the world to see, while my scoop of
strawberry made you to scoff.

Still, you didn’t understand
why I asked us to part.

What point did you see? How would you possibly
ever have learned the truth about me,
that I’m predictable, simple, and sweet,
just like a scoop of strawberry ice cream.

“Potential” by Ayesha F. Hamid

Will your little hands, comparable to the
tapping hands of Handel, be remembered?

Will your young mind, comparable
in acumen to Curie, flourish?

How much violence deflects and how much
is imbibed by your little, grandiose mind?

Remember that perfect railroad track, your trains
turning the corners of that miniature city?

We both smiled playing but  your creation
brought out something unexpected
when we saw a display of his volatile spite.

Your father  kicked the railroad, destroying your trains,
your perfect dream came to an end as your smile
moved to confused sobbing, dear, sweet child.

Remember though that imagination
like elemental energy, cannot be destroyed
and no matter the destruction
we will wait for the emergence of your genius
as distinct as Da Vinci’s.

One day, you will flower again
with sweet stems outstretched,
absorbing all light, shutting out
any darkness that comes your way.