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Portrait of Miss A and Miss A

Afshan Shafi

The poem first appeared in The Aleph Review, Vol. 2 (2018); excerpt curated for the website by digital guest editor Dr Javaria Farooqui.

We began life you and I

as a child exorcist and her consort

you wore such a spectacular necklace of pebbles

and I an apron of electrodes

Our family left us in the museum for days

where we wrote operas for the statues

our poor melodies ringing out

against the whistling chasm

there was no one to see us to see us being brave

only the music of the fall

for you and I

beating with green thunder.

barren to a fault and judicious

we hung our heads amongst the prim da Vinci’s

fasted amongst the ceramic oceans

the bleeding crustaceans.

It is you and I till the edge of the steaming forests

they are rolling the land from under our feet the

bog-thick rugs

the bird-rich winter

Rake this chill heat

or hold it for a second

fawn architect.

Answer me a few, to impede solitude.

Portrait of Afshan Shafi rendered by the artist Marjan Baniasadi, based on a photograph by Bihammal Zurqa


Afshan Shafi is an editor of The Aleph Review. Head to the Our Team section to know more.

Marjan Baniasadi is an artist from Iran, who studied at the National College of the Arts in Lahore. Her work has been featured in leading galleries and publications.



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