Breath by Breath


Illustration by Ashwin Pandya



Knock gently on this oak door. The wood is defined

by rupture, breath by breath.

Breaking down from the pressure of unsolicited sex

engraved in the floorboards and text of this mansion

I built with fiber forged out of fading candle light.


Knock gently on this oak door. It’s a very old world,

and I’m knitting the dust of my skin into a maid.

I have not cleaned these halls in years.

The paintings have rusted. Even my spiders are disgusted.

The splinters filter through fresh air.




Tobacco’s only been around for a hundred years.
It would be easier to account for our sins

if we didn’t burn them in our hands. Hell hath no fury

like the colonized. They bide their time until the fire starts

and the masters dance their histories blind.

HAZEM FAHMY is a poet and critic from Cairo. He is currently pursuing a degree in Humanities and Film Studies from Wesleyan University. His poetry has appeared, or is forthcoming in Mizna, COG and Random Sample. In his spare time, he writes about the Middle East and tries to come up with creative ways to mock Classicism. He makes videos occasionally.

ASHWIN PANDYA is a sketch-artist and illustrator, whose work has graced many book-covers. Acknowledged for his digital art as well as musical compositions, Ashwin Pandya can sketch given any situation, description or character. You can visit his website here.