Rushda Rafeek

Homeward Himalaya

Years from now, women become vermillion inferno,
the afterbirth of cunt-deep forest where your fingers
cede the pleasure I once promised to wear for you:
the silk of Sanskrit smoke, sapphires frosting
my mouth, Ganges garland, the begum’s bedspread
of dreams in the hope to return like a theatre of arrows
where I can’t be loved. I could leave — as we filch
a teeth of icicles stunned to glass swallowing
the saffron’s ode. I could leave
when your breath wrestles a body of indigo-night
built into god statues with ash-filled avarice.


After the Hagiography of a Garden Lover

In Farsi, you disappear into a Hafizian moon. This is
the greening of my slit zubaan. I say it slowly —
misplaced as far as oblivescence in the urdu conscious
struck by nymphs. This night, a night brimming
with breasts of liquid shiraz. I press your lithe of panthers
to belly-sweat lucid as onyx on tambourine. When God
is a wet crescent, each prayer wakes us into mysticism.
Each collapse so mute yet finds you ravish the courtyard
with rainbows. And I know pride is primal, dangles like
honeycomb tricked into fretwork of your own desert dark
where my arms are august and starry hunger.


Rushda Rafeek is currently based in Sri Lanka. Among the works published is a nomination for the Pushcart Prize, finalist of the Wasafiri New Writing Prize (2017) and winner of the Annual Nazim Hikmet Poetry Contest (2018).