Sheikha A

When I was

When was I interred with the seed

of kindness –


was it when I was cast from the sky,

thrown like rain


on an earth that knew of only despair

and wanton; my soul was clipped

to my feet like a slave


to follow and I lead, with a mind

but without scripture;


what was my wrong – the share of

grains I snatched


from the hands of a worker,

was it my hunger


despite all of nourishment my blood knew


the greed of teeth that bore

the taste of  the apple


the sour juices that turned sweet

with every bite


was it my glare of the hardest rock

not even a sun could break


was it my tongue that brittled

the skin of a malleable heart


when was I given the stick of itr

to purify myself


for when I fell as rain,

I smelt of tears and sin


but you promised me a plan

and handed me a map

of many junctions


and I stopped at the one that fed

me water from its dying well.


The False Prophet

(after Oscar Wilde’s The Fisherman and His Soul)

The dust swirled around in coils

before being sucked back into the box;


a staircase rolled down from the sky

and the king of stars walked majestically


not to earth, but midway left his step

and let the wind float his body, vertical


tall like a long rod over a low horizon,

the air burnt of sweet fragrant incenses;


the land opened its gate, and a soul rose

to be taken to his home in the high sky


and waited for the heavy mantle of gold,

the silver from the rich seas, and amber


stones of purity to garnish his finger;

a sound rang from the horn of the finest


ram, and an angel on his wings swiftly

swept to where the soul hung to his breath


last; the king stood over the grey foams

of where a man was killed, and the soul


spoke in pride as his body became covered

in red dust from the heat of scorched sand,


and the king said to him:


the prophet for you has always been

no man, but merely an opinion.


Sheikha A. is from Pakistan and United Arab Emirates. Over 200 of her poems have been published in 70 different literary venues quarter-ways across the globe, such as Red Fez, Mad Swirl, Wilderness House Literary Review, The Penmen Review, Open Road Review, The Muse, Poetic Diversity, Poetry Pacific, Right Hand Pointing, Shot Glass Journal, Earthen Lamp Journal, Knot Magazine and several others including many anthologies by different presses. She edits poetry for eFiction India