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Volume 8

Forbidden - July 2011


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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Sepia Evening Cinema


The heart

is mighty above all things.

You will never know this better as when you see this girl
for the first time; a picture of her, searing a bright fever
behind your closed eyelids, night after restless night spent
watching moths orbiting suns inside light bulbs, immolated
by supernovas in candleflames. To you, the world seems

dim, except when her silken sari is slowly unfolding before
your hungry eyes. Her name is a pounding fist upon your heart,
setting your ears ringing with sweetly succulent vowels

of rounding, lilting love-melodies; haunting phantom-wails

emerging whole from cavernous mouths,

lipstick-shaped lexis to anthems that reverberate across
the panorama of this old television screen, this
urine-stained linen sheet that doubles as a neighbourhood
cinema screen. Hero, you could care less if your tongue
is singed by your stale cigarette or the blue smoke of her

huntress hair. You could care less,
you could wager less,
you could die for less.

Your heart is a warrior; it is mighty above all else.

It knows –
it’s always about the girl.
It’s always about the girl.

So, when you see them running after you with guns,
with swords, with fiery spit-firing anti-aircraft missiles;
know –
bad guys can’t shoot for shit.

And it will always start to rain in the forest
only when you feel like it,
only when her mascara is waterproof, white sari

pleated to perfection, come-hither eyes crooning,
‘I’m ready’, in the stillness of the moment

before she starts to dance.

not a hair will be out of place, not a tear
will go to waste. All your lone quests will lead
to this place, this warm smile, the promise
of her embrace.

This girl

you could spit at demons for,
murder a brother for.
will play (always) when you

reach out to touch her…

and I speak these words into black-sieved mouthpieces
of strange phones set in forgotten rain-rusted booths. I have
not dialled the number of the party I desire to reach because I hope

to catch you breathing on the other
end and know, somewhere, you too, are holding a phone
next to your ear, listening to ‘Please enter the number
of the party you desire to reach’.

I have not dialled a number; I could not
dial a number, even
if I had one for you.

Your silence keeps me gambling with words that spill
into such empty echoes of promises;
I will live for you IwillwaitforyouIwillbehereforyouIwillbeforyou


it’s always about the girl,

you see,

it’s always about the girl.



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