PART OF THE PURÉE
‘Relax, my duck does not want to eat you’
Flashes a t-shirt unreassuringly
As a stiletto moves up past my neck.
Jammed under the middle-stairs of a two
Layered train, I am left staring vacantly
At a book with a nest on a bare deck
I stand longing for the paper-tigers
Of old, roaring the promise of inked flames
To charm away these travails and rigours
Become too quotidian for such games
To amuse or appal.
The blender stops. Its once-human purée
Spills into tubes and hallways, ascenseurs,
Then emerges squinting from the dim tunnels
Startled so much by the faint winter-grey
It moves the languid sun to brief fureurs,
The wind to éclats that spur on the bells.
The cloches peal long over the cold river
That lies not fifty paces hence. There
I would fain go, to laugh and to shiver
Off with old friends each shoulder-slumping care
That besieges us all.
But I am part of the purée, dodging
Puddles and debris with my booted feet
Through these limp criss-crossing streams of ‘pardon!’
From the scent of fresh bread I am drawing
Just enough strength for a dream as the neat
Portes open and we pour in by the ton.
Tomorrow I will not be train-paste poured
Docilely into a chair. I will sail
Roamingly to the water. The soured
Lines on my face will melt, this cage will fail
To hold me in its thrall.
By Hibah Shabkhez
Hibah Shabkhez is a writer of the half-yo literary tradition, an erratic language-learning enthusiast, and a happily eccentric blogger from Lahore, Pakistan. Her work has previously appeared in Bandit Fiction, Shot Glass Journal, Across The Margin, Panoplyzine, Feral, Literati Magazine, and a number of other literary magazines. Studying life, languages and literature from a comparative perspective across linguistic and cultural boundaries holds a particular fascination for her. Linktree: https://linktr.ee/HibahShabkhez