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I wear makeup in English.

I flirt in English.

I have sex in English.

I fall in love. only in English.

But I curse in Urdu.

I cry in Urdu.

My heart breaks only in Urdu

along with every part of my body.

But where does that leave me

and all the love songs I dance to?

And what is this then?

a poem?

a lamentation?

a cementation?

a cremation?

a postcolonial toxic ̶ maybe ̶ not ̶ relation?

I don’t know.

And neither do you.


I felt your words,

creep up my arms, bit by bit

and hug me.

I am in love.

with the corporeality of your love.

speech is transformed into

touch. (even whispers will do) gooseflesh

touch is essence.

Like crystallizing raindrops it is the realization of desire.

I wait for it. to s o l i d i f y. I hear the crystal creep up higher and higher till it is highest. Then, I feel it c r a c k.

solid shards of desire refracting caught sunlight within it.

In dreams and alone conversations

I conjure you in all your crystalline infallible perfection.

And I talk to you, and I confess to you,

and you liberate me, like fading cigarette smoke.

I meet you Saturday, carrying with me a rock's worth of illicit dreams.

I head out the next day

wearing my Sunday devastation.

And on Monday, I aim to forget you.

It is easy, you and I leave no trace of

an I or a you or an us.

The next day I will scream out my Tuesday blues.

no one will hear me.

And now, on a Wednesday, that is, but a moment away.

I will piece together fragmentary shards into a narrative

hoping it explains: ghost touches, cheap nail polish, and stolen flowers from the neighbor's lawn.


29th January 1896

Dead rich widow found. Hung herself from the expensive leash of pearls her husband gave. Seven of those pearls were found inside her. In different places.

Detective says no foul play.

3rd February 1907

Two twelve-year-old girls float in the sea now. Their eyes and lips and mouths are stitched shut with something. Probably just seaweed experts reassure.

Lifeguard says no foul play.

7th March 1918

A drunk college girl vomited shards of still-cold beer glass. The street swallowed her up. Her platform heels are now being auctioned.

Campus Police say no foul play.

12th April 1929

A twenty-two-year-old ate too much sand, became the earth and transformed into a tree. Construction had to cut her down. She now has hollow twigs with no leaves for legs.

Gardener says no foul play.

17th May 1940

A young mother exploded in a burst of pink obscurity only to wear white invisibility. Shrapnel was found at the site of the explosion. Something that looked like a spatula and a sippy cup. Where are the kids?

Neighbors say no foul play.

22nd June 1951

The village virgin suddenly became a cherry. A pack of seven wolves ate at the fruit. They got sick because they did not like the taste. One of the boys buried the cherry pit and waits for a cherry tree.

Father says no foul play.

26th July 1962

A hungry woman swallowed a grandfather clock. Every fifteen minutes she gets up to sing. She has been singing to ticking clocks so long, her arms are falling off. With her teeth.

Mechanic says no foul play.

30th August 1973

An ice-skating ribbon dancer fell too in love with her blue ribbons. She now pinches and pulls her own blue veins to dance in front of thousands of eyes. There is consensus that her twirling blue insides are beautiful. No one has yet noticed she dances barefoot.

Judges say no foul play.

9th September 1984

A group of friends went into the museum and never came out. Three days later their mothers visited the museum. They found their daughters inside the wax figures behind glass. The description cards did not get their spellings right.

Museum Curator says no foul play.

14th October 1995

The housewives have been drinking mercury from crystal and injecting themselves with metallic rust every girl’s night. They have three silver hairs now. Trophies have mysteriously gone missing.

Housekeeper says no foul play.

18th November 2006

She exchanged her face for a bag of cement, a mixing bowl, and a chisel. She ate the chisel, lives in the bowl, and still does not have a face. Don’t worry, everyone is assured. She is still smiling sweetly.

Contractor says no foul play.

21st December 2017

Sleeping beauty visited these girls at a slumber party. She gifted each of them fat memory foam mattresses made out of their mother’s hair. The girls have started their forever sleep with pink silk bedsheets.

Salesperson says no foul play.

29th January 2028

The writer stabbed herself in both eyes, one with a pencil, one with a pen. Her stationery can is empty. Her eye sockets still impaled. Her agent has promised a book by the end of the month. She is apparently writing with her fingernails.

Publisher says no foul play.

3rd February 2039

She won the award for best memory scrapbook. She had pasted evenly cut 4×4 pieces of her flesh. Laminated them too. It was the white lace border that cinched the deal.

Butcher says no foul play.

7th March 2050

In the middle of moving houses. The new bride broke all her joints and packed herself into a cardboard box. She is now waiting to be assembled as soon as her husband is done with the Ikea table.

Movers say no foul play.

It is reported that these reports were never reported hence there were never any reports to report.

It’s okay. They are all in a poem now.

It means nothing.


Zara Imran is a student of Social Development and Literature at Habib University, in Karachi, Pakistan. Her work has previously been published in The Rapport, LitBreak Magazine, The Desi Collective, and Crack The Spine.

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