Hide Me, Sandcastle, from this Wave; Malware; Quasimodo’s Last Walk; Research Question; Yesternight

Hide Me, Sandcastle, from this Wave

I am in every future of this sphere

Two, ten, a thousand years from now.

Though I know it cannot be, this realm where

Through earthquake and heartbreak I vow

As I climb each hill

To endure, it is all I can conjure

When you speak to me of Earth’s end.

The avalanche is but falling salt, mere

Jest. For I have not seen snow bend

Mountains to its will

A piece of rubbish floating down the street

Stubs my illusions of the sea

Powders and spills them, so sickly yet sweet,

To be healed again by Fancy

Who gladdens hearts still;

So I add one fistful of sand, each time

You speak of this, to the fortress

I build to get me past your doomsday chime,

And hear nothing of it, unless

It springs for the kill


I want to slyly install my sadness

Into your brain, like malware. Load it

And explode it.

How many words do I need to tell you,

How many I’m fines of gladness,

That I am through?

When you winced away from the sliced egg

Its stodgy whites and crumbling yolks,

Diced up cloaks

For the first truth and the last, I did beg

For silence. For indifference

For that immense

Boon, that thread-thin knotting of sky and earth,

Of silent friendship, that was worth

Everything. Now

In one ‘why did you never tell me?’ born

Of fear, shame, tired self-knowledge – how

It all lies torn!

Quasimodo’s Last Walk

So think, as you now look up through the old dry

Branches of winter, of the cry

He gave for the sky’s blue suffused with yellow

That never turned green for him, though

Envy’s colours blotched the world below at will,

Pacing and drumming his finger,

Watched by his dove

Left foot – On stone, always on stone; thus by

Right foot – sheer tapping he carved signs of mirth.

A walker fell in love with an edifice

He knew his love would not suffice

To save it. He sneaked in with a pen, and stole

It for himself. Yoked to a whole

Saga of faltering footsteps, it stands still

Mourning an undead bell-ringer

And his lost love.

Left foot – here’s our bite of the cheese-tipped sky

Right foot – in the jaws of a wisp of earth.

Research Question

In the first summer after flowering,

The new-parent plants all begin to reach

Out clumsily into the soil for each

Fresh seedling, each one of their new offspring

The sun-filter of loam cannot smother

The unbeating hearts that have just begun

To find the spoons and the forks of the son

And the gentle tendrils of the daughter

So when losing battles to time and man,

Do they mourn like us? Does a sapling’s death

Turn the tree’s sap bitter, poison its breath?

Or does it go on as long as it can?


Looming, crackling, creaking monstrous secrets,

My berry-holder, washed by dark green waves

Only wheeled things could traverse, stood half drowned

In the clouds. To battle all the birds’ threats

To my fruit I would have leapt, but the laws

Of wobbly legs held me down. Efforts crowned

In later years with giddy triumphs fail

To dim the rage that still does not avail

My friend here. Strange how deeply time engraves

First memories, tenderly opens their jaws

To swallow up the rest of a life. Child

Running across the grass, nonchalant teen

Picking coldly at the fruit, adult wild

With joy to be wheeling out wobbly legs,

Fade in the sepia of what has been,

And memory clings on by its first pegs.

Now wheeled out again, creaking like the tree,

Like it scrawny-branched, fruitless and drooping;

I yield to wobbling legs the victory,

Settle for a sandwich in a looming


Hibah Shabkhez is a writer of the half-yo literary tradition, an erratic language-learning enthusiast, and a happily eccentric blogger from Lahore, Pakistan. Her work has previously appeared in Wellington Street Review, Black Bough, Nine Muses, Borrowed Solace, Ligeia, Cordite Poetry, 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.