Mid Life Crisis

Though the stretch marks have faded the skin around the scars still feels numb when your hand touches my waist or as I button up a shirt in the morning before work grading papers in the office I pause to look outside the window and see the trees staring back at me their branches sweep through the air as if God had sent them to us because He could not come himself to hold us at work the next day I find their corpses scattered like ancient warriors around the lush green gardens in the afternoon’s frozen sunlight, I read an email from the university it informs us that they had they had to cut the trees to make space for “seven interdisciplinary centres, an amphitheatre, and a student centre.” After the long commute back home after feeding the baby dinner and putting him to sleep I sit on the sofa staring into the darkness my hands empty no one left to hold or care for. But deep into the night my hands go searching for your body wrap themselves tight around your shoulders as if by gathering you in my hands I can gather everything that is slipping away trees and trunks time and beauty.   The next day I make sure I go out to touch the red roses the years have taught me to spot the signs soon the spring will steal its way out of the garden while they are alive the petals are such a deep red so blood-like each time a bud yearns to bloom the earth gives birth to spring again again again.

Aneeqa Wattoo is a writer and translator based in Lahore, Pakistan. Trained as a historian, her writing explores the intersections between gender and the politics of spaces in South Asia. She is the co-founder of The Creative Room—an online interdisciplinary humanities focused on South Asia (Ig:creativeroom_co). Her poetry and nonfiction have appeared or are forthcoming in Meridian, New Ohio Review, Southern Humanities Review, New Plains Review. Her poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

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