It’s the start of a new year. We leave behind a year that many of us won’t miss, a year which seemed relentless with global news and human meanness.  I realise now, there is a limit to our control. We can stand up for our beliefs, we can make art, and treat others with kindness […]

Sadness comes  the cresting of a wave  on a quiet beach catching us unawares like the sting of a wasp  on tender flesh   Sadness finds us  between rumpled sheets though we smooth them out  a creeping vine with the stealth  of a summer wind  chilling to frost   Sadness slips  into the crevices of  […]

I wrote this piece of flash fiction a few months ago, and at first I wasn’t going to share it. I don’t often talk about religion here, unless it comes up in the context of my characters. There are so many facets of identity, and for me, being Muslim is one of them. Personal faith […]

On days like this I paint a smile on my face that doesn’t reach my eyes but you wouldn’t know I stitch myself together – Frankenstein, a wind-up doll – though I’d rather be under the duvet curled like a foetus The howling wind and rotting leaves a reflection of my mind where monsters dance […]

This has been the way of the world since atoms first exploded galaxies unfolded and light grew Though I didn’t know it A baby wails, all red and wet Seasons roll by, and she grows from a tiny bud into a strong tree Though one day her time will come The creeping awareness of my […]

I worry for my boys, and yours in a world of knives and guns and groups of boys pretending to be men Once they might have played on the swings, or watched the stars Instead they plot to win wars on streets yards from their homes All the while groups of men also play at […]

When humankind flounders in the shadows and the gods weep for a lost world, when tyrants roam our shores and women wear pearls at their necks to detract from the fear in their eyes remember So long as there is life and the trees grow silent and steadfast so long as the sun caresses your […]

‘Has the world always been broken?’ asked the girl, eyes laden with sorrow Her grandfather knotted his fingers together, paper-thin skin over cobweb veins and considered which truth to convey Should he comfort her as he longed to do, until her heart had no knowledge of hate or unfold to her the wisdoms he had […]

I lie in the concrete box of my bedroom inside the mausoleum of my childhood house with no means of escape My body is as heavy as a corpse my gaze is mostly fixed, still I hear the mocking flick of leaves on the asphalt outside You come to visit with frozen smiles I must […]

An oasis of sisterhood stretched through the years a safe space with no room for malice or the tired battles of competition How grateful I am for the whispered secrets the phone calls where we unravelled the knots in each other’s lives I think back to distant moons both sheltered by parental love but not […]

My stomach swells from beneath the swirl of bathwater I sink until every inch of me is pressed to the white enamel internalising hearing the drum of my heartbeat eyelids closed, imagining multiplying cells and spirit the newly forming life inside the walls of my red womb I already love you more than myself, this […]

A thousands suns can’t melt the ivy veneer of your heart No child’s smile can chase the shadows from the caves of your mind You dive into wells of loneliness swim amongst sewer rats convinced it’s where you belong your body a mummified corpse, sinking Come, let my words gush over you, seal the holes […]

I lie against the pillows in the half-light listening to bricks shifting mortar crumbling in our silent home because you have flown far away, briefcase in hand Often the world grows dark All I see are angry men and despairing mothers, fields of upside down flowers, skies of shredded crimson, a march to our graves […]

This week I’ve been thinking about motifs in literature: recurrent images, symbols or ideas an author employs to paint a picture in the reader’s mind. Motifs are woven through the books we read, used by authors to add depth and convey meaning. They might be colours (red for passion or victimhood, for example), the elements […]

A relief to walk alone after the press of company the demand for painted faces and strained smiles We wander deep in mud wordless through the oaks reels of our togetherness playing in fractured minds I remember Road trips to escape the rest when we were enough the breeze playing with your hair your hand […]

The coolest girl in school had secret trysts behind the bike shed, drank wine from a water bottle at mass, hitched up her skirt to show her knobbly knees, shaved her hair into a mohawk and wore an insolent stare Other girls lamented over cracked lips and frizzy hair but the coolest girl in school […]

A mouse set its trap in the city of lights – this time A barrage of unusual sounds, then tidal loss Religion grows monstrous in the hands of faithless madmen who blot out love and cast God in their own image Prayer, they say, is the root of all evil nowadays no longer a harmless […]

Who does not feel small in a universe basked in starlight? Like faithless pilgrims we trudge the road alone We turn towards the shrill ensnared by the quest for riches and popularity Forgetting serenity is the pauses between breaths Progressless march halted at our last breath or before – as luck would have it Divine […]

I wrote poetry as a child, mostly tasks set by teachers, but sometimes also in cards for my parents on Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. They were silly, fun pieces that were forgotten the moment they were read. One still adorns my mum’s fridge, the paper it’s written on thin with age. I had yet […]

Soft rains fell upon the lagoon from a night sky shrouded in clouds The nymph perched on the gently sloping bank trailing her fingers through wiry reeds She dipped a toe in still waters a cleansing ritual in the witching hour Her hair fell in lank strands down her bare back A sapphire at her […]