Writing Competition’s Third Prize: Reflections In February

By Iman Shaikh

It was Valentine’s Day last week,

I thought maybe I would task myself,

With writing another poem about you.

We’d been through enough, I felt,

For me to justify spewing a further few lines onto a page

About the trivial and trying times

That we had gone through together,

As strange as others may find it.

So, I sat down,

I stared at the blank screen,

I sifted through my thoughts,

I retraced the memories,

I scraped at the bottom of the barrel,

I thought myself into oblivion,

Trying to find something to say about you.

I know it might seem strange, how deeply

I wanted to find more words to write about you with,

Not to honour your memory,

Not to put you on a pedestal,

Because you never deserved it,

But to see if you still meant as much to me,

As you did when you were my muse.

As you did when I would have filled entire manuscripts about you.

And as strange as this confession may be,

The strangest thing to me,

Was that after staring at the blank screen for hours,

And sifting through my thoughts,

And weaving my way around little, unwitting moments, preserved in time,

Like fossils stamped along the shore,

And remembering how you used to speak with me,

With so much love,

Yet so little longing,

And after trying my hardest to write something,


About you—

The strangest thing,

Was that I had absolutely

Nothing more left to say.

Illustration by Paavas Bansal


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