When Blood Behaved

For Kashmir

When their blood in the soil behaved like seeds
and grew sunflowers – petals sombre as ash –

heads split at their necks, facing the sky’s
final sunlight before the dust of the universe

billowed and whirled; bodies from which
blood gushed, brooks and babbling streams

frothed like the mouths of martyrs; children
crushed under their once impenetrable walls;

necks of titans hung over territories like vines,
long arms wafting through corridors of homes

like unbreathable air. When blood behaved,
the soil was a ploughed body of regeneration –

fecund and holistic – but, after tasting carnal
rage, grasses smelled of torn limbs, flesh raw

and new like the heart of a flower before visited
by a bee, before its nectar snatched, before air

lingering like a sagging abdomen, before mourns
ringing in the ears of blood-fields. The pentacle

on the gun-bearer’s chest, weapon and intent
lucid as selective vision, blood that has dried,

bellies hanging by their intestines, the torrid
sobs, the glorious growls, the preying fox

sing like the moon has leaped into the sun’s
crater – macabre as ash – there is no more day,

there is no more light; fallen heads of sunflowers,
shivering stems, the night’s metal hands plucking –

Sheikha A. is from Pakistan and United Arab Emirates. Her works appear in a variety of literary venues, both print and online, including several anthologies by different presses. Her poetry has been translated into Spanish, Greek, Arabic, Polish Italian, Albanian and Persian. More about her can be found at sheikha82.wordpress.com Read other articles by SheikhaA, or visit SheikhaA's website.