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CONTENT WARNING:



I wonder if you’ve
imagined murdering
me. I see this circus
in your eyes when you
look at me—a royal
disdain for whatever
it is about you I’m
unwilling to affirm.
But my years as Vazir,
Viceroy, and eunuch
are over. This isn’t
a Mughal court, though
my thoughts bend
noble. I drift on this
island of love, inside
my cloud of second acts.
It’s a place you can’t
picture, even with that
ice pick gaze of yours
that seems ready to
stab my neck each
time I say, I’m a wildly
introverted woman.



Mehnaz Sahibzada was born in Pakistan and raised in Los Angeles. She is a 2009 PEN USA Emerging Voices Fellow in Poetry. Her chapbooks, Tongue-Tied: A Memoir in Poems (2012), and Summer Forgets to Wear a Petticoat (2016), were both published by Finishing Line Press. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, such as Moira, The Literary Hatchet, Asia Writes, Strange Cargo, The Rattling Wall, and Pedestal Magazine. In Fall 2016, Mehnaz served as a screener for Claremont Graduate University’s Kate and Kingsley Tufts Poetry Awards, reviewing hundreds of full-length manuscripts. A high school English teacher, she lives in southern California. To learn more about Mehnaz, visit her website.
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