Author Feature - January 2022
Hiba Aamer, who writes under her nom de plume Hiba Heba, is a Pakistan-based writer and poet. She earned her Bachelor of English literature and linguistics degree from Air University and currently she is applying for scholarships abroad. Some of her poems have appeared in Daily Times, Terror House Magazine, Visual Verse, Feminist Voices Anthology: Volume II, OpenDoor Poetry Magazine, The Raconteur Review, The Wild Word, Ofi Press Magazine, New Feathers Anthology, Women's Spiritual Poetry, Autumn Sky Poetry, The Aleph Review, The Punch Magazine, Fragmented Voices and Ink, Sweat and Tears. She has a micro-chapbook; Grief is a Firefly, published by Origami Poems Project (October 2021). Hiba achieved the 'First Runner-up' position in The New Feathers Award 2021 for her poem "Morning Prayer"
Hiba likes to experiment with unexpected imagery and extended metaphors in her poems. She keeps finding poetry in the small pockets of her heart and mind but her love for poetry truly began when she heard Eva Green recite Romantic and Victorian poetry in the T.V show, Penny Dreadful. She can be on instagram as hiba.heba_ and on twitter as HibaHeba_
GRIEF IS A FIREFLY
a wall is gnarled,
and rain-blotched outside
my window, I refuse
to vandalize it with binaries:
it displaces my reveries,
the way poetry does
and the tawdry absence of it,
I’m blue and rinsed by the
psithurism of a mulberry tree.
I see you.
Like me, you’re
a swamp in a dwelling.
We merge; a suture
quivers through us,
the way nightmares
take long strides on
under the mellow lilts of
our alibi; the breath
My brother is trying to reach
into a drawer. It’s Monsoon.
The furniture is an adhesive now
like moist mesoglea; a thin film of
hymen for things that don’t breathe.
Mother’s cooking-voice scours
the sweat-sequined air. We rush
through lunch then supper,
horsewhips thrashing our tongues.
My brother struggles to open
the drawer with a wooden ladle,
mother shouts and absconds into
her chores. ‘Where is he now?’
“Still grieving his taste buds.”
He has a penchant for chewing
bank-fresh notes, tens and hundreds.
Papa’s car honk is a whiplash to
adjourn the remaining day’s journey.
My brother swallows his crinkled
spit. Mother reappears, zaps past us
in her ironed kurta. The griddle is
aromatized by chapati, the door mat;
an empty threat awaiting some realness,
the key in the door bows in prostration.
We always thought apocalypse
would begin when Gog Magog
exclaim Insha’Allah! But it came to
us in the shape of a trifling crown,
now the skies are a clear periwinkle,
a toddler caws in the dingy alleys, there
is no bloodbath, the shrubbery is not
dredged in shrapnel and there are no
potholes bestrewn with dismembered
corpses, every car that whirs past
the Sunday bazaar has its own story
of death, a man abluted in attar of roses
offers his wife a silk dupatta; touching
her pale rubescent heart like a mask
catching a scintilla of breath from our
mouths, a grandfather carefully trudges
over a speed breaker believing it is a
grave for all the graves left undug, his
white turban a supernal halo, a talisman
girdles around his neck; mourning all
the souls it was supposed to protect
when magic existed to harm even those
who are long dead and erased, he moves
past the street kids playing with water-
inflated condoms, he reincarnates a grin.