the way

She doesn’t sleep.

It evades her as a skittish moth

would evade a determined palm.

Instead she dozes in the shallows,

the ice-cold and transparent tide.

Pushed along the hours by dark thoughts

and dreams.

Affection is the worst of lures.

Blinds you in its presence and

leads you deep into the woods.

Holds your hand and caresses

your knuckles with warm thumbs.

You are reassured.

And then when it leaves,

the blindfold goes with it,

fluttering in the wind.

And you are alone

in the woods, in the dark.

In a clearing that looks the same

in every direction.

and consciousness

is worst than the nightmares.

But the only way home

is up.


Nesha Usmani




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