Literary Orphans

Parched by Nazifa Islam


A girl stands ankle deep in dust, watching storm clouds

blot out a star-infected sky.


Her faded dress was black once.  Her lips

have been cracked too long.  She is imagining mud


beneath her feet.  She is trying to remember

the color green.  The girl stretches


her arms toward the sky.  The heavy air ripples

when lashed by thunder.


Webs of purple lightning etch the night.

A bead of sweat falls from the tip of her nose


and the girl looks up as a cloud

finally breaks open.


She cries out when she’s

struck by hail.

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Nazifa Islam grew up in Novi, Michigan. Her poetry and paintings have appeared in Anomalous Press, Fourth & Sycamore, The Fat City Review, and The Harpoon Review among other publications, and her debut poetry collectionSearching for a Pulse (2013) was released by Whitepoint Press. She earned her MFA at Oregon State University. Visit her website or find her on Twitter and Instagram at @nafoopal.

N. Islam

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–Art by Kaia Pieters

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