Poetry and verse

Room 411

by Fizza A Rabbani


She lay too confined on a hospital bed, 

a drape of selflessness over a camouflage of 

pretentiousness, 

she had never in her life been this selfish.  


A strange air of 

peacefulness protected her from the thankless cries 

that my larynx was producing. 


Its obstinacy saved me from the hefty cost, 

and she finally 

responded — 

firmly held my hand, 

moved two pearl-white 

globular capsules, 

that doctors called 

‘eyes’ 

after she lost consciousness.  


With her heart rate 

going up and down, 

Sp02 was not giving my mom what she deserved. 


I was sure she would 

get her due 

but the oximeter’s self-serving attitude pissed me off, 

and I asked the doctor to remove the oxygen mask. 


Mom looked at me, 

perhaps to tell me that I sing better than Lata 

because I have no breath control. 


Funny mom! 


I changed my clothes the other day — so unlike me — 

showed mom the blue dress I wore

 especially for her 

— she nodded, ‘I know what you are doing, beta. 


Be you, be natural. 

Go and never wash your face — 

My eyes are accustomed to the symbols of your indolence, 

Don’t disappoint me with these ornaments of self-care.’ 


They believed the left side of mom’s brain 

was severely damaged.  


I think mom won over her stroke 

but her adamant brain needed an outlet to showcase its strength, 

so it stopped functioning.  


A flower calmly rests in my hand, 

enveloping the small grains of sand 

that I secretly stole from my mom’s grave, 

to tell others my own interpretation of peace.

What is more haunted?

By Ramsha Ehtesham


What is more haunted;
A graveyard
Or a broken heart?
Unspoken words etched on the wounds
As on the marble of gravestones
The silence that's often deafening,
Probes a desolated heart that's still beating
Empty promises of remembrance and once-lived

Like the soul of people hearsed
Both have cremated reminders of love, life and existence
Halting with frustrated tears sobbing for years