Vanillaesque Enunciation – a poem by Fatima Ijaz

Vanillaesque Enunciation

Some strange city is in the Passing,
melted white flowers, like candle wax,
leave their trails on the vanilla scent.

I’ll begin somewhere here, Grand-dad.
You were a pirate in those days,
I used to read songs backwards,
you gave up on palm-trees,
the shadows drifted elsewhere.

I counted home towards you
backward and forward, Grand-dad.
Sifting through sips of water
your words – the brightest rubies
lost in those November streets of red wine.

I was a lost child, family
spelt me backward, I, born
to run, faltered –
missed that fatal heart-race.
Got delivered back home to the primal trauma
of your absence.

Now we are almost two different birds, Grand-dad
you, a seeming, me

a passing.
You, a dreamer,
I, the dreamt.

How was I to know
you were dead.
Really, Grand-dad

I paused for infinite seconds –
and something of that pause has rubbed
itself against my cheeks,

white-washed the city walls
of your silence, my

I ran to the golden bridge, I
came back empty-handed.

The soul on my back,
an imprint of your missing eyes,
your missing hands.

the subterranean
sea is pedaling
towards shells,

and your memories here, are

Non-existent in that pile of
scents at my door.

I walk home like
an eagle without its
brightest black feather.
You are not there, as usual.

The highest falls make
the sturdiest athletes.

She risks herself at the heights,
That jumper towards the nocturnal,
autumnal, wintry twilights.

Grandfather, I have become a blue star
absent in your Absence
rich and fertile,
I have reached the heights.

I kept the horizon breaking, ready to sink in
a little more, into those blue-black Beyazid nights.

Thinking, perhaps --

perhaps Grand-dad, you lived in those long ago,
And it is your scent after all, that has awakened me.

Fatima Ijaz is based in Karachi, Pakistan and teaches English Composition and Speech Communication at IBA. She is a contributing editor at a literary publication – 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 participated in poetry and art collaborations which were featured at Music Mela 2019, Art Baithak 2019 and Taseer Art Gallery 2020. Her poetry and prose have been published in or are forthcoming in isacoustic, New Asian Writing, Kitaab, Rigorous, Zau, Praxis, The Write Launch, Red Fez, Whirlwind, Naya Daur, Poetica Review, Aerogramme, Bombay Review and Aleph Review amongst others.

Insta: Fatima.ijaz6

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