Rushda Rafeek: A View of Ramadan

A View of Ramadan

—Kerala, 1935

In this dream, my grandmother scans the horizon
of a Kufic script. Eyes learning thirst, dead pilgrims
from Mecca to minarets to Alif Ba Ta-
kita tarakita dhom the window flutters
like a garland’s 7th century jasmine. Her pallu
tied to an oleaginous hip as if water pots
broke into every sindoor the sunset wore
Wahdahu la shari kalahu
All this June silk, this native chengila
and China grass mappila soaking
rosary lips of sherbet under fishing nets.
Our ghazal of gulmohar
Our divan of Zamorin
bearing the Belgian candescence
          of Rosh Hashanah.
I want to tell you how she luminates
          a Sufi breeze
on the petroglyph of her backwater spine
always coconut-lined – while morning hung
in the lamp’s faithful tremble.


Rushda Rafeek is currently based in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Her published works include a Pushcart nomination, a shortlisted entry for the Wasafiri New Writing Prize (2017) and the winner of the 10th Annual Nâzım Hikmet Poetry Contest (2018).

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