Two poems by Moniza Alvi

  Two extracts from At the Time of Partition         17   And Where? Pakistan! the crowd roared. Pakistan Zindabad! Long live Pakistan! This country – her country. A nation in its instability, one that could change lives with the suddenness of a blow to the head. And Jinnah – his photograph was everywhere, in the newspaper, on crumbling walls. Jinnah, in his elegant … Continue reading Two poems by Moniza Alvi

‘Vermeer’s Milk Maid’ by Esther Morgan

Vermeer’s Milk Maid I want to steal this picture – the stillness of the girl’s averted face as she concentrates on a ribbon of milk, oblivious of my presence. This is a moment of balance, like the rounded belly of the pitcher hefted in her palm, the endless shift of weight from vessel to vessel. It’s like observing someone at prayer – my mother framed … Continue reading ‘Vermeer’s Milk Maid’ by Esther Morgan

‘Appearances’ by Philip Gross

  Appearances “What’s the boy saying?” Gaunt hand wavering at me, nails like polished horn (Don’t stare, your uncle’s old and not well), signet ring a gleam on the wasted flesh (And call him Sir), the long-toothed grin, its awful vacancy … then “Damn you, woman” – brittle, shrill – “Where are you?” She moved, his iron-grey shadow, a tight-lipped watchfulness, to still him with … Continue reading ‘Appearances’ by Philip Gross

‘Embrace of the Electric Eel’ by Pascale Petit

Embrace of the Electric Eel For thirty-five years, Father, you were a numb-fish, I couldn’t quite remember what it felt like that last time you hugged me when I was eight, just before you went away. But when you summon me to your stagnant pool, Dad, Papa, whatever I should call the creature that you are, now you finally ask for my love: do you … Continue reading ‘Embrace of the Electric Eel’ by Pascale Petit