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Volume 17

Appetite - Spring 2017


Sophia Naz

Written by
Sophia Naz

A 2016 Pushcart Prize nominee, Sophia Naz is an Asian-American author who writes in both Urdu and English. She has been anthologized worldwide, in both print and online journals including Poetry International Rotterdam, The Adirondack Review, SCROLL, Chicago Quarterly Review, The Daily O, BlazeVOX, The Stonecoast Review, Cactus Heart, Askew Poetry, Bank Heavy Press, Spilled Ink, Lantern Journal, Convergence Antiphon Poetry UK, AAJ, The Sunflower Collective, AntiSerious, Zubaan Journal, The Ghazal Page among others. Her debut collection of poetry, Peripheries, was published in September 2015. Pointillism, her second book of poetry is due to be published in June 2017. Links to her published works can be found at www.trancelucence.net (link). She tweets @sophiapandeya (link)


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The Gulabi Guavas of Allahabad and Other Poems


The Gulabi Guavas of Allahabad

You came to this confluence
from the land of green
and white guavas, hard-fleshed brood
cousin from across, hot under
the collar, haste-carved border
that marked you as other

The hawker in Civil Lines
outside El Chico’s was making
a pyramid of winter’s
bright blushing beauties
singing their praises
in your dead father’s cadence

The first time he flayed
an Illahabadi amrood open
offered you a wound-pink cheek
with an unforgettable fragrance
that is when you knew
the tenor of your hunger
what it means to come back
to take a bite out
of your own lost history


Pecking Order

Your ears ripened early in the glare of the clucking.  Reminded constantly that merely being alive was no less than a miracle. Because fourteen hundred years ago you would have been. Buried alive. And how is that different from this you wanted to blurt. But held your tongue. Bitten and hidden like everything else.

It is always and only them. Because they rule the roost. Your father and brother and gangly male cousins and their Adam-appled friends. Allowed to express their hungers. For them the choice cuts, the breasts and legs and for you the throttled neck. So crisply twisted and snapped at the butcher’s.

One time you won a wish bone. Along with it a pitying look. Siblings belonged to other countries. You had an immediate overlord. Nonetheless you slept with a bone like an incomplete heart. An interrupted sentence under your tear-damp pillow. What was the talisman meant to do? The next morning the sheets were stained with blood. You were eleven years old.

The trees are forbidden. As is the cricket match on the street. As is running in the lawn. Because who will be watching. There is always someone watching. The world is made of eyes. You are made of cotton and pause.  Day is made of fullstops. Nights are off the record.


Sound Bites

The jaws
of news are made
of tiny, shiny teeth
random static to turn
the corner of your eyes
so they no longer look
up while walking
under the flesh
and blood magnolias
watch worms make mouth
paintings on leaves
everything is eating
something else
the news is
a glutton
the way it
fracture, spills
his guts over & over
the crowded market
ball bearings, fruit & flesh mixed
marriages are frowned upon
reaching the age of seven
a boy is torn
from her lap
always last to leftovers
chana chor,  her stolen pleasures
beaten into soft
submission, telescoped
thirty seconds later
a glut of timelines
plastic dust
in baby formula
the film of life
neatly spliced
with commercials
because whoever owns
the feed stores
your information is
a commodity
go ahead, scream
someone is

"Dady is coming to visit you - ii" by Mohsin Shafi. 2013-14. Mixed media collage. 19cm x 27cm x 6cm.

“Dady is coming to visit you – ii” by Mohsin Shafi. 2013-14. Mixed media collage. 19cm x 27cm x 6cm.





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