Light by Aseel Bashraheel


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I never actually got to meet you,
but I’ve had plenty of conversations
with you in my mind,
several debates, and we even
joked. You found me
funny, I thought you were
the most humane person
I had the pleasure of knowing.
I don’t drink, but during these mental
meetings of ours, we are always
sipping wine. I suppose it goes well with
the aura of sophistication with which you
carry yourself.

But even in my head, we talked
about our struggles with the darkness
about the farthest corners of our minds
and the emptiness we could never
fill. We cried together and I held you
and you said you were sorry I felt it
too. I’m sorry you felt this way to begin

Last year on my birthday, the clock
struck 12, but no one wished me a
happy birthday. And childish it may
be, but it stung a little bit. I was in a long
car ride, returning from a family gathering
I didn’t want to partake in, and on top of it all
I’d just turned 25. I was
so very sad about growing older
so I played your song and listened to
your smooth velvety voice instead as
you serenaded me (and the rest of the
world): “Happy Birthday”.

You’ve been there for me through
your music and your late radio talks
and your words. You were there
for all of us, your fans and colleagues
and members and family…
I am so sorry I was not there for you.
I’m sorry I believed you to be stronger
than you were. I’m sorry life grew so heavy
on you, when you made it light for the
rest of us. I am sorry the pain
grew so unbearable it
took you away and left you hollow
and cold. I’m sorry your cries for help went
unheard. I’m sorry it was so lonely,
and that we weren’t enough, I’m sorry
I wanted us to be.


Light by Noshi the Comatose


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When the world happens,

I flinch

Cringe and


When the hand of the world stretches and grabs me by my throat, it disappears once I hear your soothing voice

When I tell you that I am futile
You tell me that you can see my bright artistic future through your secret window

You touch me and the scene in front of me comes to life. Flowers bloom, Oxygen prances through my lungs and I am not afraid of that black hole to swallow me anymore.

I told you that I dashed into this world cluelessly, I am not ready, and suddenly I am a member of this society, suddenly I am shielding myself from this raid of expectations, suddenly I am an adult, snowballing, and the more I roll in this life, the more it grows, until it gets out of my hand and the only way to stop this madness is by shattering and I become small again.

But you, you always carry me no matter how heavy I get, put me somewhere warm to melt it all away.

We are a paradox but we always meet in love.

Dear mother,
Thank you for teaching me that it is okay to snowballing until you become heavy and shatter to light snowflakes.

Light by Ēva Devingelien


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Words; light and tender
Sent on the wings of a dove
Frozen by the wind

Hear my thoughts, my heart
Feel my spark and for it chant
You will bloom inside

Our souls ignited
Dancing the night, feeling love
Bodies sweat, life’s sweet

Enlighten us, dear
Time goes by, why the glum face
We are fallen leaves

Light by Jawahir Altamimi


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It is 4:48 p.m.
I have a writing club meeting in less than three hours, and I yet to write a freaking piece.
The word is light, as in airy and not heavy.
Ironic, isn’t it?
to talk about a word, a term, a feeling you yourself have not experienced.
Ironic, isn’t it?
every now and then,
you try force yourself in front of a blank paper and a pen,
trying to come up with notions, but you can’t just pretend
pretend to know that you are familiar with the word light
That it means something else other than bright
Ironic, isn’t it?
when you dig deep down your soul,
when you squeeze your mind
but all you find is a glory blackhole
sucking the life out of you.
Ironic, isn’t it?
When you search for inspirations,
Like people’s smiles, comfort, and beautiful sensations
but they can’t get to you,
they can’t fill you in
they can’t penetrate your skin,
because you’re so full of frustrations
so you grow impatient.
you grow impatient because you cannot feel
you cannot heal
you cannot even deal with this kind of suffocation
Ironic, isn’t it?
when you try to create characters from scratch
hoping they would convey the meaning of light
Imagine a kid so full of life, walking down to the candy store
but that does not feel right?
that does not feel right because
how are you going to convey that idea to your reader
when you yourself are not a believer
when your creation is but a mere figment of your imagination.
you’re thinking about kid, happy with a mouth full of candy
you’re thinking about the meaning of light, something so airy
but your fingers stumble upon the letters of anxiety
Ironic, isn’t it?

Light by Lamar Bakhsh


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Although Andy had planned it well beforehand, fear still found her, but she didn’t mind it, it made her sharper, stronger, or maybe it was the pure excitement for what’s to come that made her arms swell with strength, such sturdiness that when she carried Larissa’s pregnant dead body from the kitchen to the old barn close by, the body felt as light as a feather despite her heavy weight. She even found the strength to take a shovel and dig a grave, her body finally began to weaken halfway through the dig, she was damp with sweat and covered in soil and dirt by then and nearly choking with the stench of feces.

She measured the so-called-grave with her eyes and decided it was good enough for now, “It might’ve helped if that bitch wasn’t pregnant, right?” she panted to the cows that were watching every move she makes attentively, their eyes glistening with distress, “Oh, don’t worry, I won’t do no harm if you kept this one to yourself,” Andy winked, “Plus, I’m doing you a favor, wasn’t she the one touching, squeezing your tits and all that, you should be licking my feet or something.”

Andy’s knees were shaking but she felt as if 50 pounds of weight were shredded out of her and buried with Larissa. She sighed with relief and sped back to her home.

Mark, Larissa’s husband, reported her missing the next morning. All she kept thinking was how if she had gone missing, no one would’ve noticed me for months, I’d be dead and composed by the time they find me. Mark was angry and anxious to find his pregnant wife, she could be kidnapped, he said to the police, being tortured, with the baby, he gave quite the show as he covered his face with his palms and sobbed.

Their two kids asked about their mom every hour, “daddy, is mom back yet?”

“Where’s mom, daddy? I’m hungry.” Lucy, the youngest, grumbled.

“I don’t want cereal.” Paul said, “I want mommy to make me eggs.”

Lucy and Paul were everything a mother wanted in a child; didn’t fight that much, played quietly in the house and loudly in the backyard, went to bed on a regular time with no hassle, ate all the food in their plate, clingy only if people were around so the mother could show off the indestructible bond between them. They’re everything Andy wanted in her children, but of course, Larissa got the bigger slice.

Frankly, she had been taking it since both of them were in their mother’s womb, Andy came out much thinner than Larissa. “You were just the tiniest thing. Your sister, however, was a big one, the doctor said she took up all the oxygen and space.” Her mother once told her, laughing. “Even after birth, she’d finish her bottle quickly just to steal yours. We had to feed you in separate rooms, could you believe that?” And Andy could believe that, it was no stranger to her, that feeling of being lesser than someone. Larissa got the first goodnight kiss, and the more sincere. Larissa had food put on her plate first. Her parents couldn’t afford to buy two of each toy so Larissa got to play with the toys first and Andy after but only if she got bored with them. All the kindergarten teachers favored Larissa. Her parents were worried to death about Larissa all the time. Larissa got invited to play at recess with the girls and Andy got ignored and picked on by boys. Larissa’s laughed with her friends all day in school while Andy walked behind them, eyes on the floor. Larissa got all the cute haircuts, and howled “NO! Do her hair different than mine.” at their mom when it was Andy’s turn. All the girls wanted to be friends with Larissa. All the boys wanted to kiss Larissa. All the questions were directed to Larissa, she was the center of any gathering, the statue of presence. Even she got the pretty name and Andy got stuck with a boy’s name.

There was a time when Andy paid $60 a week for therapy, she struggled at first with Dr. Hawkins, she was an old women with glasses that made her eyes look two times bigger and more judgey, opening up to her felt like slicing open an old wound and scratching the pink flesh. Letting someone else peek into her ugly thoughts she had been having since childhood was bad enough, but to take a look at it with a wary observation to see what this person is made of?

Bloodstained silent tears welled up to harvest an appalling body with a taboo for a brain. “You have a bad relationship with food, and the first step into getting better is acknowledging that you have a problem and that problem needs to resolved.”

Oh Please, the only healthy relationship in my life is with food. And you’re too quick to judge, since I’m not the only person who’s overweight in the room.” Andy rolled her eyes at her. “I have a problem with the people in my life, I have a problem with this fucked universe that me put in the same womb as my sister. Everything is always about her, since the beginning, I thought I was gonna grow out of it, maybe move on, once, you know, I got to live by myself. I tried living for myself, I swear I did, but God forbids that any day passes without me hearing about Larissa. ‘Oh look, Larissa got a job at Google.’ ‘Larissa is going out with this handsome doctor who has a body of a fucking swimmer.’ ‘Larissa is engaged. Larissa is married. Larissa is pregnant.’” Andy cried silently till the end of the session, she grabbed her purse and sped out. She blamed her sister for this pain. She knew she was a whole person, ten fingers, ten toes and a whole brain, but still wondered why was she still attached to Larissa, still a prisoner to her, locked in a chain. Her sister shared everything with her, sometimes too much, sometimes she took all of it. Larissa took all her luck, her love, her memories, the job, the good husband, the children.

The children is what hurts the most, Andy would give it all up for just one child, to give someone the wholesome love and the attention she never got, a family of her own. “You deserve children, Andy, you could turn all this pain from your past into a wonderful thing for your kids, because you’ve tasted the sour fruit and now it’s your time to give ‘em the sweet one. Give ‘em a taste of the real Andy.” Dr. Haley, who was much nicer than Hawkins and the sessions costed a lot less, said. “I really believe you’re gonna be a great mother. Such a wonderful mom that even your sister is gonna be jealous of how much your children love you.”

She had slept with the best men she could find, and nothing happened despite her following the doctor’s instructions and tips to a tee. Her attempts with the sperm bank failed horribly and was a complete waste of money.

“I think I’m infertile,” she said to Dr. Haley. “They said I could keep trying, or I might wanna look into adoption.”

“Do you want to look into adoption?”

“That bitch, she even took my good eggs and left me the dry ones.” She said, “why do I have to look into adoption, huh? Why does she get the perfectly functioning eggs that produce kids that look an awful lot like her? I want my kids to have the same hair texture as mine, eyes and a nose like mine. I wanna see myself in them. Just like she sees herself in her kids.”

Larissa sent at least three videos a day to Andy of Paul and Lucy, with a text that read, “Look, Andy, Lucy picks out the peas out of the rice just like I used to do, remember?” “Lucy loooooves strawberry milk as much as I did, remember how I couldn’t sleep without drinking some?” “Look at Paul’s hair! Reminds me so much of mine when it was shorter.” 

Andy knew she did it out of spite, she thrived on attention and praise,  she got a kick out of it, alluding briefly about her husband, kids, and job just to remind Andy how empty her life is compared to her, just to sense the disappointment in her exhale or the ache that cramps her heart whenever she saw one of Larissa’s texts, she knew she was hurting her, but did it anyway.

It didn’t take the police a long time to find the body after organizing the search party, they dug her out after a police dog sniffed his way to the barn, and as she suspected, they ruled a homicide and opened an investigation. It unnerved the whole town, the killer of a pregnant women with two kids was on the loose, and the police had no leads yet.

Shortly after, they called her in for questioning, it was time for Andy to put on a show.

“You two were close?” Detective Martin said, elbows on his desk. It was only the two of them at his office.

“Of course, we were. We saw each other almost everyday.”

He told her they had nothing, but were sure that she was killed in the house then moved to the barn. They were still waiting for an update from the forensics but it was most likely an overdose of something, he told her. “Like, drugs? How?” tears started to fall down her cheek.

“It’s a fairly common used method, actually. Morphine, MS contin, Mercury, she could’ve been injected or it was put into her food.” He took a deep breath. “But that’s not exactly why I brought you here, since we can hardly get anything useful out of the husband, I thought maybe the twin sister could tell us more about Larissa. Do you have any idea who might’ve done it? Did she have any rivals at work? Did she recently had a fight with someone? Did she mention any thing like that to you?”

And thus, they began talking about Larissa, which Andy hoped would be for the last time. “Well, she did tell me about two weeks ago that she and Mark had a ‘weird’ fight.”

It was true, Larissa had stormed in Andy’s house suddenly one afternoon when she was doing laundry in front of the TV. Andy was about to tell her how rude it was to enter someone’s house like that even though she had the keys but when she looked at her she knew right away that there was something wrong, her facial muscles were tight as she locked her jaw, exactly the same look she had whenever their mother told her if she got an ‘A’ in French like Andy, then she could go the Spring Dance with her boyfriend. “Ris, what are you doing here? Aren’t you supposed to be at work?”

She had a paper in her hand, “Yes, I was at work, and this came to my desk.” She handed her the paper.

“What is this, anyway?”

“It’s a paternity test, Andy!” she shrieked. “Apparently, there’s this new thing called called DDC, it allows you to know the baby’s father at only 12 weeks.”


“I’m in trouble, Andy, big trouble.” She sat on the couch, “Mark sent this to me in an envelope, the baby didn’t match his DNA. He knows, Andy, he knows.”

“Whose baby is it, then?”

“This man from work.” Larissa said, sniveling. “Stephen.”

“And does Stephen know?”

“No, I think not,” she hesitated, “I mean, he asked, but I told him I was sure it was Mark’s.”

“How could you let this happen, Ris. How could you be this stupid? What’s gonna happen to the kids now?”

“I don’t know, I really don’t know.”

Detective Martin leaned back on his chair, “So, Mark knew about the affair?”

“Yes, after she went home that day, she called me at night and said Mark didn’t do anything, didn’t even say one word about it. She thought he was going to flip out, but he didn’t even tell her to stop seeing him. He just did nothing.”

She watched his face as he clicked everything together “Well, I guess that’s not entirely true.” He wrote something on his notepad and rushed out of the office.

And that’s how The State vs. Mark Harris started and ended with Mark being convicted with a first degree murder and 20 years for Child Destruction under the Fetal Protection Act.

Andy straightaway got custody of Paul and Lucy, she tried her hardest to take their minds of their parents, to fill the void. They moved to Miami, enrolled them in a new school and everyday they went on a new adventure, playing on the beach, shows, skating, bowling, play parties, and stayed out all day till they passed out as soon as they were on the backseat, she didn’t want to leave them with enough energy to think about their parents before bed.

Running around after the kids all day made Andy lose about 40 pounds, she felt an internal jolt whenever she passed a mirror, her figure was the spitting image of Larissa. She had to remind herself to calm down each time one of them mentioned their mother. After all, forgetting was a slow process, she just have to be patient with their needs, and that she did. “You look just like mom, Auntie.”

“Well, if you want, I could be your mom.”

And when Lucy nodded with smile, Andy hid her tears and couldn’t comprehend how this much happiness could possibly be inside her.

Anonymous By Noshi the Comatose


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Fraternize with the enemy
Tantalize my soul
And I will optimize using drugs
Keep smoking
Maybe it will block my vision from seeing the truth
Keep smoking
Create more fug
 Protect me from the eye contact to recognize reality with a hug
Avoid meeting my eyes, I know how liars look like
I have been preparing myself, I had enough portion of your lies
I made a vintage collection of my goodbyes
Slump your words against my heart
 Break every bit apart
A picture of you inside my pendant
I wore it daily to beautify my neck, to keep you near
Did not know you will become a source of fear
A familiar scent of how things used to be
Us kissing under that giant apple tree
The nectar of my lips used to quench your thirst
Your heart permeated mine that we became one
I thought that you would stay, did not know you were digging your way
A random vision
I am swallowed by the see
Why am I drowned but I can still breathe?
Hush! I kept telling myself
 Do not let them hear the wailing of your memories
Implode nostalgia
Explode fake smiles
Extrude a happy anonymous and satisfied person
Induce yourself to be anyone but yourself
This is bitter, this is better.
It was just a game for you, why am I surprised?!
Toss the dice
You and I are a mistake cannot be rectified
You came to me a year later crying with bloodshot eyes
Worry not
it only took a poem or two to get over you.
In the end, you are an anonymous inside a rusted pendent, inside an abonded box full of lessons, labeled with “never forget”
Toss the dice
You and I
This time I win
This time I survive
Remember that poem you read for me once?

Anonymous by Aseel Bashraheel


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They keep us to the sidelines
they want us marginalized on
the edges of pages, in lower
case and without punctuation.
They want us silent and reserved,
compliant, encased, veiled,
“You’re for my eyes only,”
Ask us how many times we’ve
heard that line and our lips
will thin out until they disappear
inside our mouths, like all the
words we’ve swallowed and
all the screams that went
I have always been anonymous.
They don’t call me by my name,
not even wife, but mother of
this boy or that poor unfortunate
They dare scorn us, dismiss us
as blemishes and blotches, think us
sultry seductresses, the reason
why men end up in hell. Tell them
men are why men burn in Hell.
They still shun us, because we
cower against walls when they beat
us, whimper in bed when they lie
next to us and allow them to silence
us tonight and tomorrow and
How many sisters did we watch
bleed, how many daughters
did they bury into dust? How
many of you did they pretend to
love only to lock up? How many
kisses have they stolen, with searing
hands upon the softest parts of you?
How many of us have they taken and
how many more will we let them take?
They wanted to keep us quiet
but today we say
We are women
I am a woman
I am here
I am you
And we shall rise.

Anonymous by Ēva Devingelien


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Questioning: characterized by or indicating intellectual curiosity; inquiring; the only facial expression I see everywhere I happen to be.
It all started 7,665 days ago, a day like this day when I came out of a womb that belongs to a person I have never met, -not that either of us have any regrets, I guess-, normally they’d be hearing my scream as this world embraces me welcomingly, but the operation room was filled with her shrieks instead.
Those were the screams of what a dictionary would define as -put air quotes here- “Parent”: a father or mother; one who begets or one who gives birth to or nurtures and raises a child; a relative who plays the role of a guardian.
In my book of words and definitions though, it’s none of that; it’s a word that gives me distaste from my tongue and down all the way to the gorge, then up again to explode outside of my mouth.
How do I know all of this?
Simply, it was all over the news for long seasons turning to years, in red bold headlines; The miracle of a couple who lived even after giving birth to a beast. The mystery of the clinic’s explosions. One poor nurse has been bewitched by Satan’s work and took in the devil. That’s a first.
Secondly, it may sound unrealistic and impossible, but I was there to witness everything and remember it till this day.
My first memory of this world, did anyone say the best is yet to come? Not really, that was it.
Because everything happening after that was nothing but hell, this is where I came from, this is where I live now, it is where I am heading to anyway. The first look at myself was the beginning of this hellish place I can’t escape.
From the swollen bald head, to the distortion of the face, to a transparent skin that shows every vein and bone, I don’t want to bring you nightmares so I’ll skip the rest of my outer appearance.
I can hear voices I cannot mute. I can erase memories but I cannot forget anything. I can feel every pain on this earth when it happens to me, but I can never die. They tried it. I tried it. The pieces of my body connect back and I still am breathing despite every torture I’ve put myself through.
Abnormal. Odious. Everything about me as I and everyone else see, it is.
Now, my surprising visitor who got lost in the middle of a snowy hike to interrupt my alone time in my cottage and been loafing here for days despite my warnings, do you still want me to step out of the dark and from where I’m hiding myself? or do you want the anonymous bogey to stay anonymous?
One soft long exhale comes out of my visitor, and I close my ears to shut off her answer as she breathes it. My heart stops beating for a second anyway, I still cannot mute the voices.

Anonymous By Ghadeer Hassan


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Lost in between conversations and places. Reminded of you in every edge and every corner. Following bits and pieces of the trails you left behind, hoping to be led to a glimpse of you somehow. Anonymously writing letters to you, wishing they’ll magically appear at your door. My lips keep craving your lips day and night, wishing to be touched by yours one more time. I yearn for your existence back to my life. But I need to say goodbye.

Anonymous by Lamar Bakhsh

It’s strange the things you think about when you’re standing on the fine line between life and death. It’s not strange place where my thoughts carried me but the actual memory of my kids. Well, I suppose they’re no kids anymore, as they have kids of their own now. But as the guard held me close enough to see his pores and the grayish hairs of his nose, I remembered, in a distant land, my oldest daughter complaining that the birds she fed seeds every morning, they never thanked her, didn’t even get close to her. Why, Ma? She kept asking, frustrated.
She didn’t hear me answer her, or rather she forgot my voice.
I feel the muzzle of the rifle pressed between my eyebrows, I looked at him, at his eyes, a trigger then I’m gone.
I’m surprised by how cold my heart is, I’m usually an angry person, it began as a dim irritation as a child then a blazing bitterness as an adult, the forest of mines in heart kept me isolated miles and miles from my loved ones.
That’s what brought me in this cursed land anyway, to get just a little closer.
I wonder, will they come looking for me? My corpse, that is. Perhaps I’d be in the forest, or a cabin.
Perhaps there will be nothing to be found. Maybe the only thing left of me will be the ashes.
His hands are shaking, I see him grinding his teeth. He’s angry, I assume, I want to ask him why? He didn’t think when he woke up this morning that he would be shooting some women? Migrant women? Undocumented women? Someone not built for bigger things. Someone not worthy of the air coming in her lungs. Someone with no identity. Is that who I am to them? Someone anonymous.
He poised the rifle, determined and unshaken now, pointing at my memories and his eyes telling me to leave this life. Perhaps life on earth will be easier once I’m gone, my kids won’t have travel miles to visit me, they wouldn’t have to answer questions about their divorce. They’ll pray for me when I’m dead more than they ever did when I was alive. And no matter how many time they’ll question and call my name, I won’t come back, I wouldn’t answer this time.
As soft as a feather, and as tender a kiss. Bang.