Sophia Naz

2016 Pushcart Prize nominee, Sophia Naz has published in numerous literary journals.  Her poetry collections are Peripheries, Pointillism and Date Palms.  She is Poetry Editor and columnist at The Sunflower Collective and editor of City, a Quarterly of South Asian Literature. Links to published works are at her site:



(for Bia)

The way her dupattas always smelled
a beaten softness to them
pounded on the stones their soil
stripped to bone as peeled
almonds and blued

again the starch and stars
of mica that had filled
the parting bride, her hair
down to her knees

no more. a forehead gracing
velvet floor, the prayer
mat now on a table
in front of her chair

I still see her there
mull, mull, mull
her beads far too slow
for alhamdullilah.

*dupattas:light scarfs placed over the chest or head by women in South Asia
*alhamdullilah: all praise is for God



Deviants and dervishes of the river
lie down the length of her
those who remember
Neelum before she became
crushed lapis, her pristine byzantine

pine penciled brows broken
traffic-lined, knifed by road, gashed
by guillotine of clear-cut log & choke
hold of plastic bags carry ominous
promises of corpses downstream

we are driven by our bellies, hunger
peaking when we see Neelum from
on high as missionaries must have
pinned, supine below us, the gem
of legend turns a hairpin in

our mouths the sharpest gasp, keeling
wheels & eyes, we are puny flames
on high altitudes where even green
tea leaves boiling to death take
their own sweet time

mined from the tiny
stabbing Sapphire’s liquid throat, lumps
of quartz come clean, clear as water, crystallize

into skulls of quiet
sugar – penitent cheeni
cupped intently then forgotten
in a crowded bazaar like those other
prisoners of myriad wars marching on
beyond the horizon

Neelum is neglected, derelict
bride, whose groom, princely
spring lies in tatters, her jewels
spilled like blood from veins
what is left is a muddy turquoise
footprint running cold between my fingers.




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