A Tea Song That Flares in Ice-Glazed Trees
At Purba Kiran’s house in Lake Forest, Illinois
Your heart is an organ of fire whispering in Aztec gold. It unbuttons itself allowing a glimpse—lit up briefly like train tracks during sunsets. The heart’s yarns travel beyond the moon, pedal above the glass roof stitching the soft and warm ruptures below. The colonies of cells murmur of their home before flaring one last time. They know the fireplaces are the constellations in wood, cliff-hangers in conversations.
. . . when it is past your bedtime and the tisane has gone cold, you realise the snow is piling up. You need more wood, but your fingers are frosted from the burial you have been doing in your heart all these years. The forest is far and you have summoned wolves in your garden. Their howls will be the first lullaby you will hear when you see your bed on fire and watch your silhouette slip from a thousand branches and back to the blood of your blood.
“The heart is an organ of fire” is a line from Michael Ondaatje’s novel The English Patient.
I Release Loch Carron into the Wind
After a visit to Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh
Let’s unmemorise each other, unstitch our days
make ‘em fall scroll-like into the library of eyes,
code ‘em in blades of light, brush
strokes, clinking glass, to see everything
air-like, clear as the first rain on the earth.
Here, at this hour
I am inside a four-walled red room
that pulsates of colours, oil, and water.
Its secret geometry calls
to a herd of stags, the highlands growing
on our canvases. The drying grass.
the wind wants to scatter into magpies
and not rattle the huge windows. I begin
to sew rainbows around my fingers. The frame lets go
I accidentally release Loch Carron
into the wild. It lands in the heath of heart
the way Majnun may have stopped in Sehra
only to see blood moons drink at his throat
and bruise his mouth over Laila.
Saima Afreen is a poet, essayist, journalist, and visual artist. Her works have been published in prestigious literary journals across West Europe, North America, South Asia, Central Africa, and Australia. She is the author of the poetry book Sin of Semantics and a poetry chapbook titled Winter Biomythography. She has been a Charles Wallace Fellow in Creative Writing at the University of Kent, the UK.