We always kept a file like that,
never in storage but stacked right
in the front of the file shelves;
the papers in it obviously important,
sheet upon sheet of strategic plausibility,
names of hospitals closest or farthest,
contact numbers, routes and alternatives,
floor plans, exit points,
bells, directives, instructions,
the file elaborate with impeccability.
Every detector serviced.
Every detail practiced.
Every minute planned.
Every personnel briefed.
Every student counted.
The thin black file must lay thick
under piles of dreams that were written
like capsules of time across blackboards,
the forbidden notes passed between benches,
the half-eaten lunches stuffed into desks,
the open pages of student diaries,
and the open books of history.
*based on the 2014, Peshawar massacre.
Sheikha A. hails from Pakistan and United Arab Emirates and is the author of a short poetry collection titled Spaced [Hammer and Anvil Books, 2013]. Her work appears in over 40 literary zines/journals/magazines such as Red Fez, The Muse, Ygdrasil, A New Ulster, Pyrokinection, Mad Swirl, Carcinogenic Poetry, ken*again, American Diversity Report to name a few, and several anthologies by Silver Birch Press. Her recent publications have been in Switch [the Difference] anthology by Kind of a Hurricane Press and Twenty Seven Signs – Poetry Anthology by Lady Chaos Press. Her real name is Umm-e-Aiman Vejlani under which she also writes and has been published. She edits poetry for eFiction India. More about her publication (ad)ventures can be found on her blog sheikha82.wordpress.com