Rigorous
Volume Three, Issue 3



Hibah Shabkhez


O Melon, Mellon, Melna

Away, melna, from thy wincing flesh,
Thy bitter sun-skin is stript and flung;
Seed-children aslumber in the mesh
With thy sun become debris unsung.

For we, canary of thy kind, seek straight thy flesh
Succulent, yielding, melting on our thirsting tongues

Or worse, fall prey to gouging fingers,
Birthed from their slimy cocoon of grace,
Are washed, dried, cracked; the fell tongue lingers
To devour seed by seed all thy race.

But we, canary of thy kind, seek straight thy flesh
Succulent, yielding, melting on our thirsting tongues




Reaping Story-Grains

When I linger on the fringe as you chill
My eye hovering over a palmed card,
Refuse to join in though you try so hard,
I do but wait to swoop in for the kill
To put my glutton pen’s thirst to the test

Famille et amis, you are all naught but prey
To the ghoul hoarding up each smile, frown, geste;
Beneath the vague little smile you think fey
Lurk pen-daggers darting forth to arrest
Scattered story-grains my stores for to fill




Throat Fonts

Into my darkness let meaning seep
From unwittingly made
Gut choices

Throat fonts
Warning of danger
Tasting of love
Scented with joy
Glazed with fear

Throat fonts
Marking the stranger
Heralding the shove
Fashioned to decoy
Intended to sear

May the bones of your speech keep
Reposing in the shade
Of voices


Hibah Shabkhez: "I am a writer of the half-yo literary tradition, an erratic language-learning enthusiast, a teacher of French as a foreign language and a happily eccentric blogger from Lahore, Pakistan. My work has previously appeared in The Mojave Heart Review, Third Wednesday, Brine and a number of other literary magazines. Studying life, languages and literature from a comparative perspective across linguistic and cultural boundaries holds a particular fascination for me."




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