by Afshan Shafi

‘The Water Runner’ by Marisa S White

I have always seen it so;
The mind in a silver bowl
At once uninhabitable and
Avid for fleece, bridle, or
Some scientific flummoxing.

When the pandemic’s long red waves
First began to bellow, 
I drew out a key-
An amberous-gray fish-
And swept the mind’s 
Puzzling muscle
To one such bowl
In the midst of sweet green fields.

I left it there to age.

Now, if memory permits one to visit it,
It lies, there, steeled
With incredible tessellations,
At once pink and sanguine-
Like an older woman with the hair
Of an autumn river-

Time does not give it permission 
To pace or ulcerate.
Spared of the dance of the body
It has spread its girth.
It is becoming
A careless young planet,
A nocturne without sound
A thought clean of reason.

Afshan Shafi lives in Lahore and has studied English Literature and International Relations at The University of Buckingham and Webster Graduate School London. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Poetry, Poetry Wales, Blackbox Manifold, Flag + Void, Luna Luna, Clinic, and 3am magazine. She has also served as a poetry editor for The Missing Slate and as an assistant editor for GoodTimes Magazine. Her prose has appeared in Grazia (Pakistan), The News on Sunday, Libas Now, OK! (Pakistan), and Daily Times (Pakistan). She is a senior contributing editor at the Aleph Review and a founding editor at Pandemonium Journal.

Marisa S White is best known for seamlessly stitching multiple photographs together, weaving her own personal narrative through surrealistic and fantastical imagery. Marisa has received numerous accolades for her art, has exhibited across the US and in Europe, and is collected internationally. Her work was recently featured at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, California. She currently resides in Colorado with her husband of 10+ years, whom she fondly refers to as Captain Awesome and their two fur babies.

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