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My river of ink has finally run dry
and its bank of blank sheets are vast,
How do I pull my pen across the foe
that frightens me most
so that beauty flows from its nib
and I do not create another monster that mocks me?

My skin is thick and darkened;
I no longer care to wilt
under the gazes of imperfect mortals.
But this creature breathes
within my soul,
a beast that roars and strikes
against her trembling cage.
The prison cannot hold long,
for it was made from the very shards of glass
I had wrenched from my body,
long ago, when my skin was soft and fair.

I am frantic.
What shall I feed her?

Should I write of my mother’s tired eyes?
Her laugh as she seeks to be included in our childish play,
or my wonder as she slowly makes her escape
on my baby brother’s electric motorcycle?

A prism of the cage fractures as
the beast throws herself against it.

She toys with the idea at first.
But hunger overwhelms her,
so she devours it,
licking her lips to
erase the aftertaste.
My mother’s
much too bittersweet
a topic.

What about my addiction to a drug
that keeps some healthy,
but me insane?
I inhale stress and
the toxic, sweet scent of textbooks
like a miner inhales coal dust.
Often, I find myself buried in papers,
something I’d dreamed of as a child,
but now, I question these dreams.
Should I write of this chaotic confusion
my books send me spiraling into every time
I contemplate the long road I have ahead of me?

The bar splinters, its pieces bursting.
She gives a low growl in excitement.

Complaining will only harm,
I think.
But like lightning, she seizes
the half-formed wisp of a thought
between her paws and swallows it whole.

Should I write of my stifled astonishment
when I first tasted the crippling fear
of death from the people around me
and wondered if they treated
all due dates the same way?
Exams, firstborns, the expiration of milk,
are they not all bound by this same
death they so desperately try to elude?

She growls,
for at long last,
her hunger has been fully aroused
with the measly morsels
I tried to fling her way
in my desperate attempts to escape.

Another bar falls away
as the beast discovers
she can breathe bolts of lightning,
wrestling the electricity
from the beats of my heart.

What do I write?

She roars,
and her lightning calls a storm.
The glass cage shatters with a
thundering echo as
the storm strikes the cage
and the beast leaps free,
a rumble of victory
rising from her throat.
She treads to me, unaware of
the resplendent remnants of the cage
pricking her toughened paws.
Electricity sizzles against her fur.

I need to write.

I want to do nothing but
fold myself into a corner
of the storm’s pouring rain.

I cannot write.

She slows her steps as she draws nearer.

The words will not come.

Her piercing, golden eyes are fixed on mine.

I need to study.

She lowers her head gracefully to meet my eye.
Her mane of golden hair brushes against my face.

I cannot satisfy your hunger of my failures,
for this time, I have not even tried.

A scintillation sparks from her mouth,
and she growls only one word.


the dam holding back my ink, cracks open;
its river gushes forth.
Colors burst in my mind;
worlds transcend into one other,
molding castles, mountains, people from
nothing but wisps of air.

The beast says nothing more.
She only nods, a hint of pride in her eyes.
Then she turns her back and trots away.

And I know she will be back
when I need her,
for she’s been in every pen I’ve ever held,
every word I’ve ever written,
every breath I’ve ever taken.

When I call her, she’ll only be a lightning’s breadth away.

Born in Canada to Pakistani parents, Faeza was mostly raised in the grassy green hills of Kentucky. She’s a junior in high school and a wannabe Arab, (the poetry and falafel really get to her). When she isn’t on the never-ending quest to find her glasses, she is studying (or at least trying to), reading, writing, or drawing at her cluttered desk. She loves jumping in puddles on rainy days because you’re never too old for that, and skateboards and bikes as well with her four little siblings.

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