The Year of the Plague
In the next house, someone lies dying In the next house, someone lies dead; I dare not send the flowers lying Vase-coffined. Every drooping head With its last, rasping breaths is crying: We too were shorn in the spring of our lives; When is our grand funeral? In the next house, someone lies dying In the next house, someone lies dead; I dare not pause the voices crying Out verb forms in new tongues. Like bread Baked from strange recipes and lying Uneaten, if you cannot say words right, They must be fed to the tide.
Hibah Shabkhez is a writer of the half-yo literary tradition, an erratic language-learning enthusiast, and a happily eccentric blogger from Lahore, Pakistan. Her work has previously appeared in Zin Daily, Litbreak, Broadkill, Rising Phoenix, Big City Lit, Constellate, Harpy Hybrid, and a number of other literary magazines. Studying life, languages, and literature from a comparative perspective across linguistic and cultural boundaries holds a particular fascination for her. Linktree: https://linktr.ee/HibahShabkhez