The pale braches of winters past
Draw shadowy cracks on barren ground
Littered with yellowed promises
Of journeys to the stars

These tired pages creased with time
Are heavy with scars of fading ink
And the watermark of separation
Runs through every line

Return to these walls once more
And melt the frost on the panes
Let it flow and then run dry
In my crevices and folds


He held her unbuttoned black shirt away from her body, like a pair of dark curtains. The view beyond was a pale, sickly, winter white. That desolation seemed beautiful to him.

He fingered the edges of the twin lacy scallops where skin met cloth.

“How can you feel insecure with a body like this?”

She glanced up. The moonlight threw the sharp lines of his face into gleaming relief and his eyes shone in the long shadows cast by his eyelashes. She was mesmerized.

“It’s my body. I have the right to feel insecure about it,” she said nonchalantly, casting her eyes back down at his wandering fingers.

Everything looks beautiful in the moonlight.


“Five o’ clock? I’ll be there.”

My lips curve into a smile as I finger the edges of a small black and white square of paper. It’s a photograph – a lithe figure, a white sheet carelessly thrown over half of her naked body, her unruly waves splayed all around her face, like a starburst. Me, one year ago.

The inscription on the back is branded onto my brain: “You little temptress. Love you forever- Zafar.”

An hour later, we face each other over tea. Everything seems slow, as if we’re underwater. He’s speaking. I look up.

“I regret marrying her, yes. But I wouldn’t leave her. No. We have a son.”

His calm makes me want to scream. I get up.

“I’d better get going. Oh, and this is for your wife.”

I reach into my bag. Part of me, a large part, had hoped it wouldn’t come to this.

I hand him a parcel- flowery blue paper, wrapped around a red shawl, a small black and white square of paper buried in the folds.