Rigorous
Volume Two, Issue 3



fallow year

Naush Sabah


both the cypress trees died within a year of each other
             one forgotten by sun and buffeted by hot air daily
the other weighed down by the mass of this year’s snow
             its branches contorted and exposing browned leaves
the short fragrant mint proliferates though untended
             and the grass I said I’d water and grow has paled
the earth hasn’t been turned in a year but things still grow
             the children’s bathtub we sunk into the ground
more black liquid dump than wildlife pond but there is life
             two white butterflies chase each other into a tornado
spinning like a ribbon down onto the overgrown spinach
             everything being left to seed helps it make sense
dunnocks still find reason to gather nervously on the ground
             every movement spreading their perpetual agitation
despite us the lavender lives on yet besides the pansies
             rewarding us with colour though we don’t look
the weak grape tree bears puny fruit not worth picking
             but it feeds countless insects the year round and
my guilt takes root in the sandy soil and snakes like stickyweed
             we worked for all of this           we had nothing but slabs
so why for their little brown bodies don’t I nurture this brown earth


Naush Sabah: "I am a poet, writer and educator, based in the West Midlands, born in Scotland, and of Kashmiri Muslim heritage. I am currently completing an MA in Creative Writing and hope to develop recent creative work into a doctoral research project exploring issues around language-policing and dissent."




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