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Volume 9

Tall Tales - January 2012


Asmara Malik

Written by
Asmara Malik

Asmara Malik can usually be found lurking at http://elmara.deviantart.com [link], where she has, to-date, been awarded six Daily Deviations in Literature. She was one of the eight winners of the LUMS Young Writers Workshop & Short Story Contest 2013. She was short-listed for the Matthew Rocca Poetry Award by Verandah, an Australian journal of art, design and literature. Her work has appeared in Karachi: Our Stories in Our Words (OUP, Pakistan), Papercuts, Poets & Artists, Sparkbright, Read This Magazine and Breadcrumb Scabs, among others.


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Lipstick Bruised Cigarettes


A certain wolf-musk
Of lipstick-bruised cigarettes.

Endless hours of exasperated waiting at candlelit tables in smoky jazz nightclubs have begun for this young man with the silver-streaked hair. He waits by the exit for his siren-voiced paramour to finish her turn on the stage for the night. She descends, golden in the glow of a thousand enraptured watchers. Her smile is reptilian. She blows him a kiss, cold breath unfolding like dragon-smoke from her lips. They walk out on the rain-wet street. His midnight suede boots clack against the pavement, blue-veined arm wrapped around her tiny elfin waist.

Her nightmare red dress is lined with gold thread. Long, sensuous sleeves cascade over her arms and beyond her wrists to froth over her long, long fingers. She lifts a cigarette to her too-full lips, revealing the rapacious white line of an arm. She exhales tendrils of baby blue lace to tie bondage-knots around his pretty neck.

She flicks her cigarette behind her.

We watch its fearful, glimmering arc end in a baleful sizzle-hiss. We watch them dwindle into the night.

“Don’t look at her again,” Israel whispers against my ear.

I pick up her cigarette from the rain-slimed cobblestones.



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