when I heard a swallow singing outside / and remembered the silence between us by Samiya Javed

She chopped her hair like Adam Lambert and installed
a hyena in her throat, it scraped the metallic of her
voice-box, in her head she was now a Broadway singer
times two – the first time she discovered her voice was
when it refused to flow from her cuticles, her fingernails,
raspberry ruin, every inch of her jagged body left
over-night like the only dessert on the menu; while
you painted Miseryville red, and your bedspread – haunted
by the ghost of a woman who got naked for the first time,
expected you to give her the world;
you wanted her smart enough to oblige but not
educated enough to knock your handsome head
out with fancy silverware, smear your mouth with
blood, ask you if the salt’s fine; she was looking
for gibe-and-take but you were never one for
balancing the scales, when you went night-swimming
in the park with a pack o’ cigarettes and a prom dress,
she sprawled on the bathroom floor smacked down
by her spectre in the mirror, when it looked away,
picking up the concealer she dabbed at her reflection
like a mad magician, she mastered the trick after all;
later that night, anointed her side of the bed with
new perfume to smell like another woman, ate cake
to calm her singing nerves, put the child you never
had to sleep; as a last measure she put on your shoes,
traversed the whole city on foot, led to every house
you entered and forgot about her; she stood at each
door, inquired about the rain, did not wait for an answer


“124: I have everything I need” image by Flickr user Bronx

SamiyaSamiya Javed is an Indian, a woman of color, an English major, a poet, a social worker, a leprechaun, and a fierce advocate of power-naps. On most days, she just wants to write good poetry and eat her weight in french fries. She is currently working on a project that uses poetry as a tool for education and social upliftment in India. Her work has appeared in VAYAVYA and The Feminist Wire among others. She lives and writes from the historical city of Lucknow.