how are you? I’m doing much better now, thank you. I’ve been sketching in my journal and thinking of taking my meals on time but I haven’t been able to yet, but that’s okay. I’ve been waking up a lot earlier these days and trying to fit in more time for myself and for the blue skies turning yellow during sunrise. I’m trying not to hate the colour ‘yellow’ so much. I’m getting used to it. It’ll take a little time and a couple of fallouts but I’m hoping I’ll get there. I’m trying to build a life out of doing what I love the most; write. I’m trying to write more these days This time, for me. I tried doing it for the others, spilled ink onto paper every single day but it didn’t make me as happy anymore. And I’ve realised that it’s okay. It’s okay for things that made you happy to not make you happy anymore. And I’m fine, writing for myself makes me the happiest and I’m hoping to do a lot more of that these days, to write about sunflowers and sunshine and all the people that represent yellow and red in my life; I’m trying not to hate colour as much anymore. I’m trying to be more colour these days and to write more letters to you. I promise I’ll do a lot more of that now and you know I do not break my promises. 

But, right now, all I want to say is that I’m sorry and thank you! I’m sorry for not doing this any earlier, you know I’ve always wanted to. And thank you for bringing all the sunshine in my life, for taking it away, making me hate it and helping me out of this hatred too. thank you//

_redoing sunflowers. 

//letters from emm. 
(i) it’s okay for things that made you happy 
to not make you happy anymore.
(ii) it’s okay if you don’t speak to 
the people, you used to, anymore. 
(iii) it’s okay to love a little too deep. 
(iv) it’s okay for the sky to remind you 
of all that you cannot be.
(v) it’s okay for you to whisper 
when they shout. 
you do not have to match their volume 
to have a conversation. 

(vi) your choices define you 
but it’s okay to want to undo 
what you’ve done. 
it’s okay to not make a choice,
they keep forcing you to. 
(vii) it’s okay to be loud.
(viii) it’s more than okay to be loud. 
(ix) it’s incredibly okay for you 
to be loud if it makes you more you. 
(x) it’s okay to cry, 
almost as much as it is to smile. 
Sometimes, more. 
Tears were never meant to be hidden. 

(xi) it’s okay to feel more. 
(xii) it’s okay to not feel enough. 
(xiii) it’s okay to not feel at all. 
(xiv) you’ll be fine. 
(xv) it’s okay to be you, 
even when they tell you it’s not.  
(xvi) it’s okay to feel so much more 
than they do. 
(xvii) it’s okay for you to care. 
(xviii) you’re okay. 
(xix) it’s okay to not feel okay today. 
One day you will be. 
(xx) you’ll be okay. 

_things I wish someone told me when I was in school 
//half an okay

(i) there is too much music and too little time. 
(ii) I wish I knew where I was going with this. 
(iii) I started painting again 
and it makes my heart so happy; 
to see all of these colours have 
their hearts beat on a sheet of paper. 
(iv) I bought a pack of crayons 
and sketched the first day I met you; 
oh, the sky was so happy, it rained! 
(v) I heard you in my music today; 
your whispers in the transition 
between A minor and C major 
on my ukulele. I hear you. 
(vi) Sometimes, I think I’m the only one 
who ever did. 

(vii) I’m smiling today, without purpose. 
(viii) You’re my purpose. 
(ix) I sketched my heart today. 
(x) It made me so happy. 

(xi) The winds reminded me 
of your music today. 
I could hear myself. 
I wanted to hear myself. 
I heard a lot of my thoughts too. 
I loved it. 
(xii) I love being like this. 

(xiii) I use a lot of semi colons; 
I think I need to, 
they remind me of beginnings 
and endings and stories 
that have so much more to them; 
(xiv) I love days like these; 
I want to call this my happy poem 
but I have a feeling that I could be happier tomorrow 
and I do not wish to take that away from myself. 
(xv) I’m happy today 
and I’ll say that without any full stops; 
_my happy poem; 

(i) Thirteen bullets pointed at my heart, 
and I stare at the revolver as you load the fourteenth, 
and you say I’m not strong enough.
(ii) Would you listen if I called you by my name?
(iii) Last year, I apologised to you for apologising too much, 
and you said you didn’t want to hear me say another word. 
I told you I’m sorry and walked away.
(iv) I don’t know why I keep saying 
the same words over and over again, to you.
(v) I wrote letters to you when I didn’t know you.
(vi) I’ve never known anyone but you.
(vii) I don’t ever want to know anyone but you.

(viii) We’re a tragedy, my heart. 
We always beat at the wrong moments. 
I call you by my name, 
and you whisper yours,
until I’ve forgotten every sound, 
that isn’t your name.
(ix) Sometimes, I wish I knew how to play music, 
I’d not stop playing until every note 
reminds you of every breath 
that I take for you.
(x) I’m too much.
(xi) I’m always too much, but enough.
(xii) I’ve spent my entire life figuring out 
how much is enough.
(xiii) I just know I’m not, 
at least for you.

_fourteen bullets at an empty heart. 


I’m unlearning how to close open doors,
and open closed ones. 

Every day, I water the same flowers, 
dig the same graves, 
tiptoe on the same footsteps,
that the second, 
I remember how not to, 
I’ll un-remember why I need to.

I’m unlearning, 
how to braid my hair, 
every single morning, 
weeds growing along my flowers, 
uprooting them from everything they’ve ever been. 
I’m afraid that I’ll water the weeds the next morning, 
and forget the flowers that brought me to them. 

I’m unlearning the songs you sang to me, 
I want to remember those songs, 
without remembering you, 
in the lyrics, the beat, the lack of it, 
the rhythm and my lack of it, 
I want to remember the words, 
without you spelling them out to me. 
I’m unlearning the days you whispered your favourite lyrics, 
to wake me up, 
on afternoons I didn’t want to, 
on afternoons I forgot how to. 

I’m unlearning how to wake up, 
knowing that your words will. 
I want to forget how to wake up, 
only for the sound of your silence, 
on days it rains a little too hard, 
and you’re outside, 
breathing down my neck. 

I want to unlearn how to dance, 
I never knew how to, 
except when you were around, 
and my toes beat to the rhythm 
of the song that I thought you were.

I’m unlearning how to close open doors, 
a little lighter than you used to, 
loosening my hold on the handle, 
lifting the stopper a little, 
fading it into silence, 
but without locking it, 

I’m unlearning how not to feel safe with open doors 
and uncovered windows. 

I’m unlearning how not to open closed doors, 
how not to unjam the fourteen locks, 
or send letters from within the gaps, 
how not to breathe down the spaces in between the locks, 
how not to forget why I put those locks in the first place.

I’m unlearning how not to forget you, 
in between the words I keep whispering to you, 
knowing that you aren’t here, 
that you wouldn’t come back, 
knowing that after all these locks and years, 
you still aren’t home.

I’m learning how to close open doors, 
and open closed ones, 
without calling you home. 

unlearning myself.


(i) sometimes, I believe that it rains only for you. 
you feel like the last song before the night ends, 
and I, a burnt out cigarette’s stub, 
forgotten in a tunnel in the middle of nowhere.

(ii) we’re a jigsaw puzzle on a Friday night, 
with seventeen missing pieces 
and half a story, 
we remind each other of a semicolon;
in a sentence that never needed it.

(iii) we write our favourite songs on paper planes, 
that are still trying to fly, 
we sail them in ships, 
and drown them after a forever, 
four minutes is a forever, 
half a letter is a forever, 
an unsaid goodbye is a forever, 
my unspoken words are a forever.

(iv) we sketch our hearts on our doors, 
and break the doorbells,
before they ever ring, 
we save the wreckage in our diaries 
and call them home.

(v) I don’t think we’re very good at hiding 
what we’re feeling, 
our silhouettes whisper more secrets than we do, 
our silences converse a lot more, 
in between full stops. 
like unwritten stories, 
some days, we pretend that we’ll be okay.

(vi) I think that we’re all just trying to be the other half
of a constellation that forgets to shine on most nights, 
some days, we’re really tired of trying to be, 
like a triangle with unstraightened edges, 
we’re always pointing towards different directions.

(vii) Some days, I wish I had your laughter recorded, 
of all the people and places that I’ve ever been, 
you feel like a heart worth beating for, 
I’d beat for you.

(viii) sometimes, I believe that it rains only for you, 
so I walk up to my roof, 
once, twice, fourteen times, 
in seven forevers, 
and eleven goodbyes, 
I have so much to say to you, 
so much of my heart beats for you, 
so I walk up to my roof, 
forget that you’re not there, 
and laugh a little. 
sometimes, I know that it rains only for you.

_unneeded semicolons;

Amaira decides to breathe a little more on Sundays. Abbu stays home a little longer. There is tea for breakfast and half a newspaper, stories from a world away. They sit on the little swing in the veranda and gossip about school and why Zehan’s cat, Noori cries a lot more these days. Nazeer got a haircut, that feels a lot like sunshine. He runs around the house, his own little galaxy, every room becomes a new planet. He calls his own Pluto but sleeps in Saturn. Abbu sleeps in Neptune and Amaira doesn’t sleep these days. She sits outside and listens to the crescent call out to the gibbous. She listens to the same song, over and over and over again, until she completes her letters, the ones she never posts. Her excuse is that she never remembers the route to the post office, she has always been awful with directions. Zehan drew her the directions to the post office on a tissue paper one day that she keeps in the top drawer of her cupboard. They were at the brew and Amaira had asked for chai with two biscuits. Zehan laughed as she broke the biscuits into five parts each and took an hour to finish her tea. He smiles a lot these days. Abbu took him to the shooting range the other day. 

“Shoulders straight, Zehan.” 
“Don’t be so tense, Zehan.”
“Bend your elbow a little, Zehan.”

Those orders run around in his head as he puts his tea down and remembers how perfectly Faizan bhai did it. He knew how to do things right. Just like he knew when to say what. He misses him a lot these days. Faizan hasn’t sent a letter in seven weeks now. They don’t allow them to send letters from the military base these days. They’re all scared.

Faizan taught Amaira how to dance when she feels scared, to let her energy flow through every nerve and pass out with her breath. 
Amaira dances a lot these days. She thinks dancing will remind her how to laugh. Faizan made her laugh a lot. He also sent her flowers along with his letters. Amaira misses him the most on Sunday mornings when Abbu sips his tea slower than the sunrise, when half of a newspaper converses with her in stories she dreams of living, when Zehan’s cat, Noori cries a lot more than usual and Nazeer runs around announcing the crash and burn of another meteor. A shooting star. Amaira wishes that Faizan comes home soon. 
She writes two letters every Sunday and hides them in the top drawer of her cupboard, along with the directions to the post office. Then she goes back and sits in the veranda with her newspaper, chai and half a biscuit.

_half a newspaper
half a biscuit (part 1)