July 25, 2018 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

Lucy Fisher photo



Rizwan Akhtar




The Call


for Tammara Claire



For a long time words abridged themselves

inside long pages of evening spreading


when your call exposed pretentious peering

as if silence was a kingdom you erected


now decided to surrender implosively

rattling the volume of night, heeding


to things we exchanged in the dark corner

of my room housing various memories


until this recent shrill of telephonic tearing

of excuses and pauses created the lateral


logic of seeing again and unabashedly

even birds have subtle ways of expressing


love forgotten on feathery fall of leaves

and spaces wings cover in the length of a day


compared to our elliptical walk on pavements

half-steps and reluctant turns, swerving


foisting monosyllabic utterances after

not meeting for longer, on this occasion


a huddle of impulse moistened your eyes

a face reading me clung to the phone.






Tea With Ellen



It was a regular winter-wafted day Ellen and me

had tea in a bistro outside Baker Street where

an occasional pigeon reminded me of the home

and roadside shanty tea-sellers pouring muddy

chai in white cups barely gratifying, spooned

seductively from Cyclone tea tin-box embossed

with colonial enterprise; I wondered at the milky

boiling and the length of business.

Out there with drizzling and seagulls of London

taking flights we had English Breakfast Tea

in a ceramic cup Ellen held with a complacent smile

neither dull nor dust-fringed the liquor swirled and

I peered at Ellen’s elbows, aroma flaunted

over her steamy cherried-cheeks and she kept

a mum ritual of sipping, the blend watered her mouth

made to produce a relevant sound in the deeper passage

of throat connected to a throbbing cleavage

arched neck graced each time she lifted her upper lip

smoky scent gulped the desire to stem her flair

the way she held the cup the English could have

coined a term but I looked at her entangled fingers

and imagined tea leaf in plantations withering.

Out there an old man sang Frank Sinatra on Banjo

and people threw coins, I could see the derelict

beggar back in Lahore wanting gratis tea

in a chipped bowl but here she made me dream

as if tea-talkers we talked the evening,

organoleptic or a reluctant outsider I inhaled

the fainting odor of her secure palms while

her sneaking slurps lifted the spongy fingers

blocked by rings as if she was a tea-wave

wanting a tempest, drowning me on the coast.






Rizwan Akhtar

Rizwan Akhtar’s debut collection of Poems Lahore, I Am Coming (2017) is published by Punjab University Press. He works as an Assistant Professor in the Department of English, Punjab University, Lahore, Pakistan. He completed his PhD in postcolonial literature from the University of Essex, UK in 2013. He has published poems in well-established poetry magazines of the UK, US, India, Canada, and New Zealand. He was a part of the workshop on poetry with Derek Walcott at the University of Essex in 2010.

Editor review


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  2. Zakia August 10, at 10:27

    Rizwan as usual is full of empathetic imagery woven into beautiful thoughts


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