Spine by Sheikha A.

for mother

The sea curves and her body writhes;
she fins out dorsal-wave, the stairs on

her back sturdy for ascension; Orion
lost its rib to creation – she jangles

like a dormant super-giant, walks on
water for as long as she can – reigning

her carmen cells threatening to recede.
She is blue as wild canyons spanning

oceans; waxing constellation on frothy
sky; her body of stars has landed: a mass

of jewels entangled in sea-weed, tendons
have stiffened, a whale’s mouth widens,

spout reflexing at the incoming glow
of light. She will burn like fallen stars;

her canals have closed to only but open,
she blinks like active veins of Betelguese,

dimming/alighting as drifting plankters,
her currents strong, charging high tides.



Sheikha A. is from Pakistan and United Arab Emirates. Her works appear in a variety of literary venues, both print and online, including several anthologies by different presses. Recent publications have been in Strange Horizons, Pedestal Magazine, Atlantean Publishing, Alban Lake Publishing, Revista Azahar, The Ekphrastic Review, and elsewhere. Her poetry has been translated into Spanish, Italian, Greek, Arabic and Persian. More about her can be found at her website.