The Sea Hides Fish.

I cannot go on, eyes closed,

sewn with loose black thread— unraveled

from the night my frock caught on a

thorn tree— Half seeing two countries

that do not see me,

the way I wish to be seen.


On a boat, in the arid air

a child whispers “The sea hides fish...”

A mother who has lost her Maya exclaims,

“Until they swim to the top”—


Strangers ask:

"Ghar kaha hain?”

“Where is your home”

Like an orphan wandering; “Serif mere undar,”

“Only inside of me”


But there is a home, there was a home, there is a solace

inside the water, inside the blood, inside the water again:

Everything that was once your mother’s womb— now,

You wonder, where is there to go that loves you?


You enter here and cover yourself,

with your own skin and you enter

There, without a veil— they say

“Have you no shame?”


Look back, and then forward—

I remember when my father showed me,

a proper noun— A Country— does not matter for each has it's

own terrain. He worked to climb the mountains at night

Of both/

Of there— of here...dependent on

the light of stars and moon/

just to give his daughter a gift—

of a red bike tied with red balloons.


So I too, grew up

wandered into darkness when the sun

chose not to acknowledge me and

My mother’s voice arrested me:

“You must stand on your own two feet.”


I told her if I have legs,

there is no longer any use just standing.

I must run— no, stampede: into blackness,

however far or deep.


She said her country told her:

“Only women who are loose

like the bottom of a frock

come out at night." I said no,

I learned from father— that I can be

harder than a rock bouncing on cement.


Even in the dark I can be a fish that lurks

right under the water— who moves

so swiftly, no fisherman can catch.


On a boat, in the arid air

a Mother whispers “The sea hides fish...”

A child who has lost her Mother exclaims,

“Until they swim to the top”—


These countries gift you sturdy arms,

tie your eyes with threads as you

carry rocks, walk between

blood and the water. (Something like your mother’s womb)


You will not tell me, I did not spend a childhood  

looking into the windows


of two countries  


that did not see


Meetra Javed is a Pakistani-American writer and multidisciplinary artist who also works for a creative agency. She is currently in the process of editing her first full-length poetry book, Standard Deviation, and is working on her first screenplay. Instagram: @Meeetraaa.

Barzakh Mag