Scherezade Siobhan: two poems

From a drowning

All night the wind shapes ellipses
From the sacrum of sea-husked boats

Water narrows the paisley of its tongue
As if a Persian blue hyphen—

All distance is an emptied hourglass,
An Alice universe too luminous in its lie

Men with hands like leather-bound bibles
tease the weeded augury of conch-songs

Maghrib is a drooping sonance, a mapless gull
        —a compass breastfed on ambergris

These are the roots I can’t be clawed from
I can’t perfume my throat with Calo or Pashtu

Just like I can’t liquor the blackout of my father’s
Suicide. Leaving is cloudless – the sky always

Barefoot, ennobled

by its own alizarin calligraphy

Ancestors of rock salt cathedrals.
Ancestors of storm-chasing caravans

What am I if not splintered phosphorescence?
A gasp of voltage. Trickled Trout.

The spine of God filigreeing the coral
Cave of my mouth. The chambered echo

Of my heart flowering inwards
Into a hungry anemone


in another country, you could be تلاطم, upheavals, anomie—an exuberant tapestry
kissing the knee at namaaz
in this one you are a diagnosis of bask-tendered geysers, a field filigreed in eras of

here we forget the violaceous roam of herons, a pulsing estrangement we have
learned to name home. a stream of fireflies embroidering a resilient light to the spice

we go where the apple trees have grottoed into shadows of old mosques

to spoor into that roseate forgetting—a mind grown quietly into seams of quartz
each tongue teased by its own paused memory. a foreignness as cold as a foggy tarmac,

a torn baggage-tag. a spring as blue as the hand of fatima,
a haemorrhage perorated through the borrowed accent of an open vein


Scherezade Siobhan is an an award-winning writer and psychologist, writer and a community catalyst who founded and runs The Talking Compass ( — a therapeutic space dedicated to providing counseling services and decolonizing mental health care. She is the author of “Bone Tongue” (Thought Catalog Books, 2015), “Father, Husband” (Salopress, 2016) and “The Bluest Kali” (Lithic Press, 2018). She can be found squeeing about militant bunnies @zaharaesque on twitter/FB/IG as well as Send her chocolate and puppies — [email protected]

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