‘Shadow’: Sehri Tales selections, Day 4

The top selections in poetry, flash fiction and artwork for Day 4 of the Sehri Tales challenge; prompt: Shadow
Artwork: Kashfia Kamal Metheela


"You had your Sehri?"
I couldn't say yes
because that would be a lie.
I didn't know
how to say no either
because I did notice
your call sharp at 4 am—
the alarm I set at the start of every Ramadan—
but I didn't need an alarm last night.
I did miss Sehri
but I was wide awake.
Just stuck under a rubble
of deadlines.
And though I heard the Azan
it was too tiring
to reach out for anything but water.
That's how things feel at times
when I stay alone
away from the shade of home.
You've worked your way
through my evasive silence–
"So, won't you feel hungry throughout the day?"
I might but
how do I tell you
that I'll go out
into the sun
and read poetry.
Weirdly, that'll fill my soul.
For a moment or two
it feels good to escape the shadow,
to evade the shield,
and be in communion with the sun.
But when the sun sets,
I long for the shadow—
cast by the hanging lamp
on the dining table—
serving me oily fritters
that I promised
I wouldn't eat this Ramadan.

by Noushin Nuri 



When the sun pulls at my chains I trudge along. Otherwise, movements are a luxury I'm allowed only as long as they mimic that of the material world.

No part of my body is my own, except my eyes. And with those deep set eyes that have forgotten how to blink, I watch, eternally.

I watch people pick flowers for one another, I watch children run to the comfort of their mother's arms and I observe the warmth released from their skin melding into one, his curved back fitting in the fold of her limbs, his features relaxing the moment she parts her round, red lips to form a lullaby. I watch men channel their rage into their words and wonder if it feels like a noise of high frequency buzzing around the edges of your throat, longing to be let through.

In this world of light I am the absence of it. I exist, only to quietly, contentedly bear witness, and wonder:

What was God thinking when he brought the shadows to life?

by Waziha Aziz 


Everything that I am, and everything that I am not— 
is a speculation of all the dispositions I carry within me. 
I am nothing but a mere shadow
without the unanticipated diversions, 
without all the kaleidoscopic sunsets painted upon the skies of July—
I am a lover's grief etched upon untold goodbyes, 
A mother's woe screeching through the void, seeking in desperation,
A child's tantrum thrown for a toy he'd forget all about in a week,
A traveler's tears for the steps he did not take upon unseen grasslands,
A beggar's frantic holler for a spare of change amid this bustling city (of joy!) 
I am a fusion of every emotion ever felt
draining—all out of me needlessly
and blending amid the teeming crowd of this lifeless metropolis—for once, they dare to call themselves human, 
for every despair that runs through their veins. 
Everything that I am, and everything that I am not resides within me 
like shades of all the blues and grays—
I am just a mere reflection of everyone I once encountered in life, 
Now, I carefully carry them within me like a spectrum of shadows tied to my tireless neurons—
I am you
I am each and every one of you (yet never truly my own self) 
and I live a life of many—but never the one intended for me to live.

by Maliha Tribhu



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