i am not where i want to be.

i look at the road ahead,
paved with potholes and gravel.
my blistered feet have forgotten how to move forward
amidst the endless list of reasons to stay hidden and safe.

these arms carry more burdens than love.
this heart carries more nightmares than hope.
if the rough edges continue to cover my body,
what will be left of the ambitions
that remain stuck in my throat?

is it that i have forgotten how to carry my dreams
or that i never fully understood their weight?


i have an affinity for statues and museum walls.
they may be crafted from stone,
but they bend for no one.

i tire of remaining pristine for everyone.
i am ready to wear my skin rough,
unafraid of whether it meets the expectations
of faceless crowds.

i want to scream into the abyss
until my name finds me again


my homeland is called heartache.
it is called loss.
it is a place of missing things
and people long gone.
it is a cathedral of unmet prayers
and quiet desperation.
the home i cannot call home.

it was never about unloving my past.
i must love what lies ahead
just as deeply.


there is nobility in the fall.

feel the soil between your fingers
when on your knees.
witness the view
from a height you cannot reach
when at your feet.

taste your failure.
savor it.
then have the courage
to spit it back out.


with a heart as large as a football field,
she felt invincible.
there was freedom tethered to her softness.
she loved everything
that was blessed to be touched
by her welcoming fingers.

her kindness left people confused.
‘why do you give so much to others
before they give to you first?’
‘because life is too painfully short
to wait for reciprocity.’


on weak days,
i curse my body for bending.
i curse it louder for breaking.
why could i not have been made from rainwater?
was i destined to know of the cold ground so deeply
that there is nothing but rock bottom ahead?
my arms tire of lifting myself up,
time and time again.

on brave days,
i revisit the scars long enough
to have a conversation with them.
tracing the hardened skin
with the skin of courser fingers,
i am no longer intimidated by the roughness of my life.
there is beauty in the way the textured surface refuses
to smoothen itself for anyone.


NOOR SHIRAZIE was born in Pakistan and has lived in a variety of countries, including the U.A.E., Pakistan, Australia, Qatar, Bahrain, the U.S., and Canada.

She graduated in 2015 with a business degree from Northeastern University in Boston but fell in love with poetry halfway through her time in college. She published Into the Wildfire: Mourning Departures in 2016. The second and final installment, Into the Wildfire: Battle Scars, was published toward the end of the same year.

Aside from writing poetry on a daily basis, Noor thoroughly enjoys sketching, singing, and playing the piano.


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On one hand, language can either add or take away the impact of the poem. On the other hand, sometimes it’s less about the syntax and more about the bare-bone meaning behind the piece.



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in this issue

Author: Noor Shirazie
Editor: Lydia S.
Graphic Design: Shompole, N.L.