Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Ramsha Ashraf: For the One Who Died in the Hands of Wrong Men

For Shagufta Parveen

I shrink to myself when I think

Of the pain she might have felt

While lying there on the railway track

Which took her to nowhere

After being everywhere

In the clouds of easy smoke

Which could be produced

After burning cheap tobacco,

In the gatherings

Of no brave yet hollow men,

In the reddening of the eyes

Of people who had embraced

Death of their desires long ago.

I shrink to myself when I think

Of the people who had held

Her index finger and led her

To the dead track

Where she breathed her last,

Friends, friends were those

Who made her dance naked

With flower‒bands around her wrists

I shrink to myself when I see the blood

Of her metaphors flowing through

The veins of my empty poems

Struggling in the darkness

To survive the death on another rail track.


Copyright 2019 Ramsha Ashraf

Ramsha Ashraf is a poet and playwright from Pakistan. She was a 2017 resident at the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa.

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