Becoming Why is there anything - instead of nothing by Tighe O'Donoghue Ross
Zojaj (iv)
by Sheikha A.

We entered through a door(way) reduced
to the bidding of termites – potential-less

flooring, hives of hardened dust caking
walls; we faced a measure of urgency,

the baton of evacuation ready to strike.
Time trifles with seasons — disconnected

roads from their vehicles — people from
their tarmac — flags from their catalysts —

birds hopping from sill to sill in a state
of freedom, loneliness a washable fabric

brewing aromas of suds, the smell of
cleanliness putting the rains to shame.

Stars step out in their gated compounds
knocking gingerly on doors of playmates

while the moon hangs like a thin spread
of food, and we are reminded how we saw

cobwebs clothing termites and the dense
of fatigue washing us even before entering,

the insurmountable work bearing us down,
and the promise to leave before the hives

reincarnated becoming a horn-full echo
smug in the nooks of mote-laced walls.

NOTE ON THE TITLE: Zojaj is an Arabic word that means transparent glass.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: When we were being made to vacate our previous flat, we became frantic in search for a new apartment to shift into, and, being thin on options at that point in time, we accepted what we saw (of the current flat we’re in) and after a month of semi-heavy-duty renovation works, we promised ourselves this to be our temporary abode as we looked for better apartments – the current one acting as a by-time. Something about the 2000 sq. ft. of intense infestation called to us, like a desperate plea for care and we took the project on. Over the five years of unavoidable wear and tear, parts of the ceiling from several areas have fallen, while the walls crumble from mould and paint-chipping, false ceilings hang loose by their rusted steel supports threatening to crash down any day, yet we are tied. The uncanny inability to find, despite an array of options, to move out makes it seem like the house is alive with its own entity making us see beyond its obvious degradation, a spatial appeal – the warmth of isolation – its aging comforts – familiar mourns.  On another note, the image of the door embellishing my poem isn’t of my home’s. I found this image in the collection of a powerful artist by the name of Tighe O’Donoghue Ross and I couldn’t shake it off my mind. I decided to use this in lieu of my original door because I love the ghostliness yet a sense of yearning about it.

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Tighe O’Donoghue/Ross was born in New York City in 1942. He received his B.F.A. and M.F.A. at the City University of New York, graduating magna cum laude. He is a world-renowned printmaker and sculptor whose work is in the permanent collections of such prestigious institutions as The Victoria and Albert Museum in London, The Brooklyn Museum in New York, the Smithsonian National Collection of Fine Art in Washington, DC and the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. He is an American and an Irish citizen, living with his family in County Kerry for the past 30 years. O’Donoghue/Ross’ oeuvre is full of symbol and surrealism, his imagery playful, yet profound. Many of his images contain allusions to Irish and Celtic myths, but he gleans material from all faiths, mythologies, and philosophies when compiling his surreal World of O’Donoghue/Ross. Visit him at and on Facebook.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sheikha A. is from Pakistan and United Arab Emirates. Her work appears in a variety of literary venues, both print and online, including several anthologies by different presses. Recent publications have been Strange Horizons, Pedestal Magazine, Atlantean Publishing, Alban Lake Publishing, and elsewhere. Her poetry has been translated into Spanish, Greek, Albanian, Italian, Arabic, and Persian. She is the co-author of a digital poetry chapbook entitled Nyctophiliac Confessions available through Praxis Magazine. More about her published works can be found at