One Man’s Cliché


There was a straw basket on mother’s head
When we locked the one-hinged gate.
A chattering twin dangled off each arm 
And the baby kept her back straight.
I came last, holding the water instead 
Of old Bhaloo who kept me warm.

The twins are now echoes in rustling trees
And mother’s back stoops unhindered;
But I still have to hold this bottle so
To stop this top – it was splintered 
When the laughing men knocked me to my knees –
From letting out our last swallow.

I must save it from the sand. On we go
Like ill-skipped stones, lurching and slow,
That take forever, twist, turn and shiver;
And never do cross the r

About the contributor

Hibah Shabkhez is a writer of the half-yo literary tradition, an erratic language-learning enthusiast, a teacher of French as a foreign language and a happily eccentric blogger from Lahore, Pakistan. Her work has previously appeared in The Mojave Heart Review, Third Wednesday, Brine, Petrichor, Remembered Arts, Rigorous and a number of other literary magazines. Studying life, languages and literature from a comparative perspective across linguistic and cultural boundaries holds a particular fascination for her.

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