The great stone fort slayed no dragons –
they were alive and asleep in its rubble
turned blue. The night in the woods
when a boar’s dirge rattled chestnuts,
and barks shivered as if living within
an incubus, he came to me bearing
ignobleness, reached to my prophet
vanity and crawled away on backward
steps crunching stones around his metal belt.
I opened a grave that night: a potion
to resuscitate the grain of sand and worms.
My hair tangled with sweating pleas,
remembering a birth of me I saved. Much later,
in the water cupped in my palms, I would see
nothing of the potions bringing kings down
from skies’ wombs. Taking my first step
into the market of justice, I paid no sum
to see my mother forget the cross. My beard
grew longer as I wore missiles as hats.
Far into an era’s ability to grow, I had charted
division of seas, befriended lands’ worth of
notoriety. And on one voyage of a lover’s,
I saw the table, the caliburn like a clear mist.
I wrote with a quill of steely nib how he’d be
the long deaths in whites: still bodies
of locks: battle cry of the red dragon.
Sheikha A. is from Pakistan and United Arab Emirates. Her works appear in a variety of literary venues, both print and online, including several anthologies by different presses. Recent publications have been Strange Horizons, Pedestal Magazine, Atlantean Publishing, Alban Lake Publishing, and elsewhere. Her poetry has been translated into Spanish, Greek, Arabic and Persian. She has also appeared in Epiphanies and Late Realizations of Love anthology that has been nominated for a Pulitzer. More about her can be found at sheikha82.wordpress.com
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