AFSHAN SHAFI

Grandmother in the kitchen

I would watch
You
forging a
Question mask of air with spice,
And thinking, scullery, consort, vamp
Cincturing
three carmine
Rivers into a boiling pivot,
With the roof of the mixture hardening into
Something like clay,
And then in minutes
Present the tangibility
Of a rogue nation-state

The exquisite foaminess of your skin
Was Mongolian
The fell of irises under the pores
were a miniaturist’s caprice
Each fleck of violet moisture,
Moved to octave beyond
Assonance or jazz
and sometimes
Something under the weft,
Under the salt nails
And blue knees disrupted the
Regular guile of your body
An hallucination of
Fermenting selves
Tripling into a nearness, something elegiac
Before the grey tethers and bolts
Of the flesh
Flung out to describe a kind
Of oneness, and
Your arms entire ciphers,
The neck serene,
Whittled to its wax root
the body diffuse,
draining into
a final seamlessness
Afshan Shafi

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Afshan Shafi lives in Lahore, Pakistan and has studied English Literature and International Relations at The University of Buckingham and Regent’s collegeLondon. She has also worked previously at PEN Pakistan. Her poems have recently appeared in ditch, Inkwell and Quill, Full of Crow, The Toucan Magazine, Mad Swirl and Radical (India).