by Mubashira J., 15

Vellichor, I live in them
when I discern that in this exquisite world
indigent humans cases are unsolved
by the government who rules for the hood rich,
And not for the parenthood.
Desperate-criticism eyes are watching, 
But I wonder how much they lack about who’s right and who’s not.
But one will be right if he has a plate to feed you. 
Classical books, residue spaces between two lines
Have the permanent marks of plaster highlighters, 
Since it’s the knowledge about 
how I am made and how I was broken. 
Astronauts have successfully reached the moon, 
but never achieved the moon. 
How come I haven’t still reached a soul within me?
But have achieved maturity by locking myself
in the chambers of hearts to win them
when I should be playing outside. 
I have been missing for years. 
Condolences are now being received
not in the form of letters, 
in the form of obliviousness and deafness
as if I am wholly graved under their foot. 
They aren’t sweet,
but I was thought to be one. 
Didn’t learn it by throwing lethal plastic bags
In the dustbin, 
But when I was disposed off by those
For whom I dismantled myself in the nights 
so they could enter the rotten academies when it’s sunrise time, 
But how come I was never hugged
when they arrived there each morning there? 
Why you make a metaphor, 
And not write them differently? 
Are you making fun of me? 
How come you tell your love,
But your lovers are now scribbling stories
With saddest endings, 
And some of them have written their own. 
You only screech with bended knees
When the about-to-be buried body is being carried;
You express your loss to your nearest friends who were their enemies.
When you grow up from being a little child
relishingly climbing your neighbor’s tree,
To the small-fragmented one under giant trees, 
You perceive that not all drugs are injections,
yet the one who would inebriate you
Might first give you candies to suck. 
You killed yourself suspiciously, 
To defend someone for the sake
that someday love would be healthy.
I need help, I can’t differ
Can you please tell me? 
Is love tortured or tortuous? 
Am I yours or anonymous?
This world is not for me. 
but I really thought it could be.
I forgot I am one of the species
That was born to make my pain infinity.

Karachi, Pakistan

Notes from our interns on selecting this piece: Thought-provoking poem that tackles complex themes such as societal injustice, personal growth, and the ambiguity of love. The use of metaphor and vivid imagery makes the reader feel the weight of the emotions and experiences being conveyed.