•   September 23 2015 // poetry   •

A new poem


How to be a reverent versifier

First, to begin,
you must speak in another’s voice
keep it indistinct
like this haiku on steely shale:

‘three wet stones
inside a bellyful of moss
a sparrow’s radiant eye’

tell them,
everything is just decorously there,
and akin to
keeping your tone, full of fluoride
and adamantine cumuli
but still so girlishly irregular,
like that fresh set of lips you’ve
been coveting, for your other life
where you’re cliffhanger profound,
hellbent on sonnets
and men who love De Chirico, and perhaps,
dyed cats
Men, inspired by such words:

‘seven pink guns
on a bed of grey oil,
the sea hiccuping in june’

despair begins with lilac missives,
vintage postcards to your starburst self,
admonishing your gentle rituals and
your carefully threadbare charm
like this haiku on Miró’s
bird’s flight in moonlight,

‘a reef of bones
floating past the green sun
a midget god, on his ferry’


Afshan Shafi lives in Lahore, Pakistan and has studied English Literature and International Relations at The University of Buckingham and Regent’s University London. Her poems have appeared in 3am magazine, ditch, Full of Crow, The Toucan, Mad Swirl, Visual Verse, Black Heart magazine and others. Her debut collection, Odd Circles, was published by Readings (Pakistan) in 2014. She is the editor of Abbreviate Journal.