Literary Orphans

the prairies
by Madiha Khan


Blue color traveling in the night haphazardly evoking burning feeling in me, I have no shame left. I drive from Calgary on a smooth, unending road and my brain slowly becomes constructed of the same matter as my spine. The sky really is terrifying the sky really is exploding really is blooming my head bursts.

On a busy highway I pull over and breath into hands I hope connected to my own body though these days I can’t be sure you never know. A blaze of colour slices through the windshield I wince and once again carry on: there are no lights left in the cases of survivors.

In the Canadian South:

“Are you okay?”

“I want a bike.”


“I want a bike”.

“Alone. Dorm room. Selfish. Breakfast. Get out of the bathtub.”

“Okay”. Sad eyes. Ground meat and peas for dinner.

At school:

“I want out”.


“I want out. I want out. I want out. I am a fraud. I want out.”

Back over slide inwards and backwards back to Alberta back to the present situation at hand something looming, colour blooming in my veins. IN the darkness of last week I sat in an empty apartment with 95 blank crisp pages humming in front of me. I sculptured the perfect pencil in the rest night I stared the pages into dust, watched them crumble before my eyes. The next day I stumbled over to the campus and I threw the dust on the professor’s desk, her face spoke the stars to me. Walking out I exhaled burningly, lungs escaped chest and made a cavity outside my ribs.

Mock professor to me in the hallway three months before the dusting:

“Harder. Try a little deeper, think better. You are capable but just not.” She extended her hands to me and sharply I flicked away her acidity. Rain on the way back as I bought the milk that night and I thought I want out.

Years and years built up and today it swallowed my tongue up and I got in the car and left Calgary.

Mountains breathed beautifully to me height far enough to produce digestible air but I am not was not ever a half-wit.

Mountains would only sustain me for so long I sighed for a land of homeness where i could bury my face in the soil and breath with painly sweetness. The problem of half a generation of nowhereness is that the complications are unfixable.

“Pakistan.” I whispered in the car and I could feel a valley of flowers melting into green puddles. “Pakistan.” I whispered slower and the rain crashed down. I hit my head on the roof of the car.


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Madiha Khan is a university student in Windsor, Canada, a city full of rain and old car factories. She spends the majority of her time bike riding, reading, writing stories that confuse her friends, and looking at triangles.


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–Art by Sagi Kortler