“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.

“A Night in California” by Ayesha F. Hamid

The streets are wide, everything is green,
floating in the air, a pervading sense of peace.

I stand in your villa, an open expanse
everywhere the eye can see.

I stroll through open avenues,
I stroll with you, the owner of all this beauty.

Leaving the parameters, we walk down the street
the breeze is just right as flowers fall delicately
pink and white among the lush green.

As we turn the corner, a store surfaces
with everything we need
while neighbors smile warm smiles
chatting with us in Spanish.

We head back, enter through the gates,
returning to finish with preparations
as guests wait.

You’ve worked this day like every other,
so strong, so brave, even on your wedding day.

I guide you to the veranda where we sit for a second
remembering everything that brought you to this moment.
Then, your façade fades as you admit that
life can be difficult, but I hold out my hand 
help you up and send you on your way.

The sun goes down as I join the crowd.
The cool breeze touches my face 
as I wait for you to take the stage.

“Childhood” by Ayesha F. Hamid

The quiet was what scared me
not the sound of crackling fire
a flame taking in everything
bubbling, fizzling, frying
all memory and material.

Though at first indecipherable,
I saw a picture in the flames,
cheeks, eyes, and skin,
a baby in the haze.
I screamed out, shouting her name
she stared back in silence
afraid of the shame.
The child was familiar, and as soon
as I knew, I felt the feeling of
fire engulfing me too.
The photograph, that baby was me
being burned up and consumed so quickly
till nothing was left but a heap of regret.

“Atonement” by Ayesha F. Hamid

I searched her face for it
in her eyes that had seen
a spectrum of scenes over years
her brow which she could have bent
signaling absolution, but she didn’t.

The last thing she gave was a reluctant smile
so I thought maybe she’s coming round
but before I could sit
listen as she told me again to toughen up
to always hold my head up high
in this world of vultures, redemption, sin
before I could talk to her of mistakes
and regret, her soul fled.

She died at night, a woman
who could command the attention
of any room, at the end laying cowered,
alone on the ground, taking with her
any possibility of peace between us.

“Heartache” by Ayesha F. Hamid

Mid-morning rain runs over windshield
while arms tingle, chest aches.

In the off chance this is a heart attack,
I pull over, turn on the hazards
slouch in the car and wait for death.

Who will find me – an angel
with sleep still in its eyes
that takes time to call for help.

Or someone like you,
too selfish to stand or sit,
too busy listening to the whispers
of demons in your own head.

“One by One” by Ayesha F. Hamid

Your ashes will sit in a lifeless urn
of dead stone, on a table of dark tone.

Your remains will wait quietly
till you are called back by the One
to be put back together again
to be given back everything
the tumors took away
one by one
your body healed, your eyes of soft hue
red blood back, flowing forward and through
so the whole face is lit up again.

Then, there will be resplendence
with the feeling of your warming light
without guilt, without pain
when finally one day, we see you again.

“Passage” by Ayesha F. Hamid

When you needed passage, I pulled you into
my burning boat, protecting you from waters
bitterly cold, and in that safety,
I wished we could have

stayed always…

but you knew me to be a resident
of that already descending day
so you created a considerable space
between you and me, choosing not to see
my forfeited forever, my given eternity.

If only your eyes would have given you away
showed the slightest hint of the reality.

Intead, expressionless and opaque, your face was set like stone
as I carried you along, nothing to give, nothing to say,
but still holding on, biding your time
till end of day and waiting for a new dawn.