Three Poems by Scherezade Siobhan

by: Scherezade Siobhan ((Header art is by the incredibly talented Kurt Schwitters.))

Scherezade Siobahn’s poems translate the overwhelming complexity of our personal and cultural dislocation into polyrhythmic hymns of longing where “touch/ must come contoured with language.”

Siobahn 7 (Schwitters)

Learning the rain in Urdu

The length of it is – surmai –

+++++++++both fish & sky
+++++++sinew grieved to gray

We watch the abuttals vivified to phlogiston
Learn how to constellate the coda of colour

His eyelash slowly stirred to porchswings
My tongue contouring another quatrain

The peacock paisley of veins thickening
into an opuscule of snake-tailed slang

I tell him my grandmother could charm
cobras with a bamboo flute. Their dappled

skin somnolent in the sinsemilla stained
grass as black crayon cadences of alif, be, te

I tell him about my grandfather’s Nehru jacket, his mouth
full of verses rinsed in liquid gold, full of Faiz & bourbon roses

Together, we watch a cognac-furred cat raise
Cain with a fishbone padlocking its scant gullet

The water keeps leaping out from the tea-tinted ditches
The steel clouds deftly building their fugitive chapels

+++over the drooping bones of sweet lime trees

His head in my lap is a skull courting cinnabar
in a shaman’s paws. I still my ache, recite the rain

& it becomes an alphabet of summer sparrows – crashing;
their petite wings muted against the weep of my window


Surmai – In urdu, the word can mean fish & the colour gray
Alif, be, te – letters of the urdu alphabet
Faiz – A famous urdu poet



the word is saudade
splinter stranded

between maul & mull
the body is a mason jar

full of blind fireflies
(a grey echolocation)

when the lid is lifted,
a crystal madonna

shatters on the marble
of a cathedral in venice

and all the altars begin to weep
the blood of tambourine doves




Scherezade Siobhan is a WoC Indo-Roma psychologist, writer and the maker of world’s finest spanish omelettes. Her work has been published or is scheduled to appear in Queenmobs, The Nervous Breakdown, Electric Cereal, Potluck, Winter Tangerine, Fruita Pulp, tnYPress, DIAGRAM, Literary Orphans and others. She is a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee for writing. Her first poetry collection, “Bone Tongue,” was published by Thought Catalog in 2015. Her full length poetry collection “Father, Husband” was released By Salopress in December 2015. She can be found squeeing about militant bunnies and neuroscience @zaharaesque on twitter and

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