by Sheikha A.

for Aine MacAodha

We are nowhere near higher knowing —
the planes of the earth’s aura — mounds
of rise and fall of land and water, we travel
towards an oasis through mazes of carbon;
and we plant for trees to save our migration —
the mountains to stop breaking. Falling birds
and floating fish have traversed the desperate
colours exuding gradient of black and grey —
while our hairs turn white; we age like fruits
plucked off trees raw, further from knowing.

We are close to knowing — our feet edge
inwards to the choked trilling of silence —
our habitat converses and winds carry
their whispers telling us to wake up
from the lore of complacency; the wild
bushes’ receding glimmer. There will be
an end some day, everything up in smoke;
but at this time that hasn’t begun ceasing
and auras keep pulsing, we need to save us
an energy to return to long after we are over.

PAINTING: Nature of Nature by Jeremy Henderson (2004).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I believe all beings on this planet are connected somehow, whether tangibly (in the sense of physical proximity) or telepathically (with people we’ve never met). Just today, I learnt of the demise of someone I knew on social media as a brilliant poet. From a favour this person did to me without even knowing who I was, out of nowhere, the thought of her crossed my mind leading me to check her profile to learn of her passing away. Point being, as we age there is a craving for superior knowledge that takes over us — the wanting to know the beyond. And, in seeking, we realise the answers are right here in the environment, be it people or flora or fauna or plain nature to which we never paid any attention, and if we had, we’d realise how much of what’s inside us doesn’t find healing because what’s outside of us — the air and water and land and food, etc. — is clogging and suffocating. Ultimately, we’ll be facing threats greater than what we aren’t perceiving right now. Our future generations may be forced to morph with the speed of anthropological advances depriving them the beauty of slow momentum — they probably won’t know of the beauty of nature we experienced because the earth will have probably changed by the time they exist, and through them we’d have lost the thread of post-existing too.

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 include Strange Horizons, Pedestal Magazine, The Ekphrastic Review, Silver Birch Press, and Abyss and Apex. Her poetry has been translated into Spanish, Greek, Albanian, Italian, Arabic, Polish, and Persian. She is the co-author of a digital poetry chapbook entitled Nyctophiliac Confessions available through Praxis Magazine. Find more of her work at