(Structure inspired by Aamer Hussein’s “Knotted Tongue”)
By Fatima Ijaz
It was in the days of love that I first met him by chance. It was a frugal evening with the wind keeping tune with my heart-beat; nothing was said out loud, almost like the mahogany on the skies. Raqs.
As strangers often do, we kept apart except meeting through the gaze of the eyes. Mine was hurried, casual, curious but his was somewhat eternal and fixed like the blue on a sea painting. We spoke.
It seemed like he had visited this castle before. In fact, many times he had been drawn to its incessant weeping and consequent resurrection. It was my first time.
Little by little, my hurried fascination with his eyes gave way to a suggestion of coffee. There was an oval-shaped, silver-lit café nearby.
A Spanish guitar played the dark song and suddenly I was compelled to speak of the very things I had locked in the depths of my heart. Perhaps it was his strange silence that felt as familiar as if it was my own thing. I felt I had known him for eons.
All the time of confession, which was a gold star in the very pristine blue of the night, his gesture was unhurried, attentive and it felt like the baptismal bowl of water for a newborn.
We were strangers, I had to remind myself after the river of words had spent itself. Suddenly I felt hollow and empty as if I belonged nowhere.
Click here to read another post inspired by another writer: Yaad – Inspiration from Faiz and Others
Fatima Ijaz is based in Karachi, Pakistan, and teaches English and Speech at IBA. She is a contributing editor at Pandemonium Journal. She graduated in English from Hartwick College, NY and York University, TO. She holds an MA in English Linguistics from Eastern Michigan University, MI. She won first prize at the Mclaughlin Poetry Contest in Toronto (2007). She has been a reader at the Karachi Literature Festival (2020, 2021). Her work has been published in The Aleph Review, Ideas&Futures, isacoustic, New Asian Writing, Kitaab, Rigorous, Zau, The Write Launch, Bombay Review, Amethyst Review, Naya Daur Media and The Friday Times amongst other places.
Create Cultural Memories through Literature and Art
- Itr-e-Kafur (Essence of Camphor) by Naiyer Masud – a short story that embodies by far the best poetic account of the state of creativity that I have ever encountered.
- So you don’t get lost in the neighborhood by Patrick Modiano – an evocative rendering of the strange and powerful ways in which memory works.