Huma Sheikh

FATHER’S GHOST IN MY FLORIDA ROOM


Behind the pine grove, my Panhandle blooms          
with rage. I pop pills, walk to last night’s chair
where you sat murdered in your blue pathani
Last night, you bowed your head— never to sing 
again, not in the reyaz of our house, 
where we laced Ghazals.  Last night you bowed 
your head, an accordion strap over your shoulder. 
 Sometimes, I conjure the faces of your 
murderers. It begins with your fingers 
tapping on the harmonium, tak tak tak tak 
until an echo of revenge vibrates 
on my fingertips. My eyes can’t make you 
into clay, can’t make a body a body,
again, a heart, a nose, like yours. Your story 
didn’t flash across the evening news, didn’t find 
eternity in a Youtube clip. I am six 
and feel your shirt against my cheek. I am curling 
your hair between my thumb and forefinger, 
combing it over your face, laughing. 
The palmetto tree in my rear-view mirror 
looks nothing like your shadow. 

Huma Sheikh is originally from the war torn region of Kashmir. A doctoral fellow in Creative Writing at Florida State University, she’s the recipient of fellowships from Callaloo (Brown University), William Joiner Institute (UMass Boston), University of Massachusetts at Amherst and the East-West Center (Hawaii). She is winner of the Adam M. Johnson Fellowship and Charles Gordone Award. Huma is currently at work on poetry book and memoir. Her work has appeared in Kenyon Review, Cincinnati Review, Rumpus, Prism International, Consequence Magazine, Solstice Literary Journal, Arrowsmith Journal, and others.
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