“social anxiety”

shall I tell you the way it feels,

the swampy bog of worry and panicked thought?

to stand knee deep in it is both a comfort and dread

here, in the center, no one can touch me, see me, criticize me

it is me and this repugnant slime,

a manifestation of the worst of me.

and so it sucks me down until I realize

I cannot breathe and there is no one

and the dread is overwhelming.

It is ungratefulness, they say,

that which makes up this clamorous quagmire,

this insidious morass which demands so much of me,

and becomes envious if I dare try and leave.

If I try to climb out of its maw to rest upon its

viscid shore,

it redoubles its effort, it bubbles and spits

it reminds me no one can befriend me, how could they?

and regurgitates my flaws, my wrongdoing,

my sins, upon its abhorrent banks.

And I desist in my resistance,

and slip slowly again into the gurgling mire.

Comforted that none will see me sink.



Nesha Usmani





Time; God’s Great Thing.

A memory-maker

A dream spinner,

a way to heal, to transform.

Where, in the long stretches,

do moments turn into memory?

August Popsicles dripping down a summer dress

Warm Septembers,

Rusty, breezy Octobers,

Chilly Novembers giving way to winter,

and those nights I used to write and write.

Countless seasons have passed me by,

I am left clinging to childhood, to a carefree

sense of wild freedom,

of so much time to do so much,

and now, too many distractions,

and too little time.


Nesha Usmani


whether a princess or a prince.

you are but a tiny thing

barely four inches of existence

with blood and body I carry

but have not yet seen.

For a decade now, I’ve prayed for you

to one day become a part of me.

You are part of two,

two that love and cherish each other

who love and cherish you.

Whether you are to be

a wild-haired princess;

free spirited, huge-hearted,

brimming over with adventures


a benevolent prince,


eager for knowledge,

with enough wisdom and love

for a hundred men

Whether a princess or a prince,

We wait for you with barely constrained

impatience, and so, so much hope.


Nesha Usmani

Desperate Purple

I finished the day with yearning,

Wished the day stretched further,

The violent orange glow and

desperate purples of the sky screaming, reaching

for another breath as the night yawned awake

and smoored the fires of day.

I remember, my head against the pillow,

my hands reaching to clasp some far-off dream.

So content in sleep, so self-absorbed in wakefulness

So conscious somewhere in between.

I remember myself so vividly.

As vivid as the excuses I made for problems I should not have had,

As vivid as the pure emotion that drove my decisions from day to dark.

I loved my beauty, whatever of it I owned, I loved my mind, for it was vast and filled with


I loved the small blooms of wisdom that grew there, that I would pick and share with others.

And so I am unclear, uncertain as to why

this dark, thick fog has descended.

Settled neatly between my confidence and optimism,

Smothering with its full weight upon what defines me.

What I could have been.

Nesha Usmani

April 23, 2015


what have I gained,

if I have lost my Lord?

He is there, rising above my desires, though I am but looking at the ground

What is lost if I have my faith?

Looking up, as His rewards come down.

To see beyond the boundaries of the heart,

Is that not Love?

Is that not Faith?

To depend on flesh, blood, and bone;

That is a chasm, and we fall alone.

N. Usmani

i was not a part of history – as was the browning leaf that rode the wind

into the bleeding battle fields, bolstered by the cries of fighting men,

i remember not the golden age, the years of trade; those days of peace,

I do not recall the followers, the travelers, those that caught the words

resonating, captivating passersby [but they were never meant to be as such],

and unsettling gluttonous kings and corrupted men.

I felt not the loss of dear friends, all of them martyrs, those mothers, brothers, daughters, sons.

I did not place the cloth over them; too short to cover both head and feet.

I did not stand with the mighty as they prostrated to Allah.

Vulnerable in the night, suddenly turned small.

I did not see them, those immaculate servants.

One whose wings filled the sky, and yet walked into a sacred house.

i was not of those who witnessed his, Salalahu Alayhi Wa Salam, passing,

but I am of those who mourn his loss, left us in a Quiet.

I am of those who, though so far removed from the age,

fear the day a trumpet is blown and all is uncovered.

All is shown.


Nesha Usmani




Soul Space Interfaith’s Reflections, Volume IV, Spring 2014

Soul Space Interfaith’s Reflections, Volume IV, Spring 2014

Assalamu Alaikum

I’m really pleased to share that my poem “Dunes” has been published in Soul Space Interfaith’s Spring 2014 Reflections. I really admire this organization, for a lot of reasons.

Here’s an excerpt from their “About Us” section:

“We are women, old and young, seekers all, keepers  of our own individual and congregational faith practices and wanting to better understand and honor the faith of others. We come to share experience and wisdom, to acknowledge distinctions, and discover connections among our faiths.  At present, we are women of the book—Jewish, Christian and Muslim. We welcome all women of faiths. In order to foster soul space among us, we agree to bracket religious politics and disputes for attention in separate venues.”

Thank you, Soul Space!