Blood Orchids By Sheikha A.

(after Marge Simon)

A man tore off his left arm from the elbow, he woke up 
with no painful memory of the dream. It is getting tiresome

narrating diaphanous stories of the astral community; 
gravity has been flying to the earth on green wings,  

bringing to the dwellers of the lower habitat a flash 
into past lives. A crow opens its mouth of rotten teeth, 

the man jolts into recollection of the plucking of buds 
he meticulously picked from the heads of fresh blooms; 

they had the texture of grape peels, ruining its plush meat  
that were meant to float in a wide-circular vase – like a tank – 

detached from their stems – the heavy bodies – blockages 
in natural evolution, the way to make them survive 

the lack of limbs, the presence of minimal attachments, 
the unknown that never surfaced, the blooms that drowned, 

and the tank a colour of watery tea. His current life is a red- 
chested robin, plastic and lifeless, like the heads he’s cut, 

creating a make-believe pond, finding summer in the fishes 
that swam underneath stretched canopies of leaves,  

the ones he never caught, but it was his farm of finned  
orchids, the petals a mulch of gills – his vase their safe pond. 

Tomorrow is the hundredth day of summer. Spring blossoms  
are stemless; in his dreams he’s cutting – the heads rolling.  


Sheikha A. is from Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates. She likes to refer to herself as a squirrel perpetually caught at the crossroads. With no vivid memory of her ancestral home, except for the large corridors and rooms that echoed of ghosts, she only remembers her life growing up in the UAE. She still believes herself to be haunted, but has now found a portal of release through poetry that has helped erect safe boundaries from feeling a sense of homelessness and from not knowing where she belongs. Her published works can be found at 


Published 8/15/19