“Pledge” by Sheikha A.

Some lands are royalty
in just existence: the dragging
of the boat from sand to sea,
the thick of the tongue
on the roof of the mouth –
that is when I am (where I belong).
Did you know seas on my land
were artificially made? The glass
in buildings: a poised mirror
of eaten frugality. The fish in gold-
lit ponds had their fins staked for
a price of a soul in a circus fire.

Some robes are royalty.
Here, my face has sharp nuqoosh
with a straight-lined nose
on the skyline of quiet desert dunes;
hot coals under dark, subservient
lashes; you will find in the tunes
of the rababa, the swirling folds
of a flagrant jalabia. By the sunset
of a new home’s dawn, when clouds
will be worn like an old man’s magic,
you will find me in the unrippling sea
singing for shelter.


Sheikha A. is from Pakistan and United Arab Emirates. Her work appears in over a 100 literary venues and several anthologies by different presses. Recent works have been published in Star*Line Journal, Mobius, Abyss and Apex, New Mystics, Poetry Repairs and elsewhere. More about her can be found at sheikha82.wordpress.com

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