Volume 4 Issue 2, June 2020
Special Issue for Indian Poetry

Sophia Naz



Fire, she spoke and all the wheels

of memory turned...


Smoke so thick, the hills are pall

bearers - shoulders shrouded

weight of witness

a cloth-eaten light


Where does it go when you close

the louvre of your lids?

Light, ancient Leviathan

kept alive in oceans of eyes.










Are you brood of blood red poppies

or steep of deep opiate sea?


my life’s on the line, the urge to dredge

up the dirge, mill stones in single file


yet like Tethys you are never done

 Gordian accordion knot of Ocean,


history curdling the future, in sum

I am, aftermath of Partition


word-slide clotted grief oblate

 of sheaf and throat hemmed in


neat couplets to the dark pitcher

will you turn me into larval


stew of sorrow syllables, witness

fingers mute as damp matchsticks


tossed in your vegetal carnivore belly

why should seductive nectar only quell


hapless flies, let me slake

once and for all this thirst, make


a last red octagon, tentacle sign

where streets with no address pin


down place-names in waters flown

fold migrant wings, flesh palms to bid


fond and final farewell, at land’s end

come as salt to rim, be drunk.








From the sixth floor of the seaside hotel, the occupants toss their cigarettes onto the heads

and shoulders of the treetops, the green pockets where a canopy still persists a clutch of egret’s nest


Seen at other times on the sides of auto rickshaw rides they stand bedraggled, feeding on a bright skirt of refuse fringing market, medieval church, jetty


While putrid velocity faster than a drunk

on a motorcycle straddles the narrow neckline of an inlet at full throttle


The egrets watch two full sleeved first timers

of the three minute Versova-Madh Island ferry

spit out their toothpicks to joke that they have crossed an ocean off their bucket list.









The Last Beekeeper


Bees are living

in my eyes, they feed

on my tears, all day

and through the kohl

black night, I can hear

them buzzing as they mill

my dreams to honey, hum

incessantly in the raga reserved

for species on the brink of becoming

extinct. I blink the bleak milk back, lachrymose

to the core, at the thought of being

this ocular cave hole, last recourse

of Apis Mellifera, as a dying planet

toxic from sweltering belly to melting poles

runs the last lap in its course.





About the poet

Sophia Naz is a bilingual poet, essayist, author, editor and translator. She has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize, in 2016 for creative nonfiction and in 2018 for poetry. Her work features in numerous literary journals and anthologies, including Poetry International Rotterdam, The Adirondack Review, The Wire, Chicago Quarterly Review, Blaze Vox, Scroll, The Daily O, Cafe Dissensus, Guftugu, Pratik, Gallerie International, Coldnoon, VAYAVYA, The Bangalore Review, Madras Courier, etc Her poetry collections are Peripheries (2015), Pointillism (2017) and Date Palms (2017).  Shehnaz, a biography of her mother, was published from Penguin Random House in November 2019. Her site is SophiaNaz.com.

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Published by The Alternative.