Twentieth Demon | Sophia Naz

Twentieth Demon

Sophia Naz


You held me like the mangroves 

Hold the twin worlds of earth

And water

in fluxed yet rooted equilibrium

Lightly yet tight lipped at each 

arrival and leaving 

each blue veined swell 

of alluvium, turquoise 

ancient as a dirge blossomed

at your knee

Flotsam and rumor 

came surging 

on the bended backs of trees 

the metal husks of lipsticks, hummed 

from old and sequined mouths of curses

silken as a prayer

In your hands, humble grains 

mimicked the hiss 

and sift sift of bodies 

borne on the reed planes

a Hieros gamos made in air

You picked each flaw 

precisely, pebbles felled 

with a nail-flick flew from your 

oracular lentils, the ones chosen 

for nuptial divination 

tossed high six times the fabled 

legume hexagrams read

the selfsame axiom

In a split 

second of brash petulance

I fell from the realm of the gods 

who at their leisure chose 

to torment me with twenty 

demons, nineteen of which I 

defeated in a fever between sleep

and death

but the twentieth 

demon still lodges 

within me, silent 

as a poisoned well 

Sophia Naz is an Asian-American author who writes in both Urdu and English. She has been anthologized worldwide, in both print and online journals including Poetry.  She gets amused and amazed by the mother of wonders that is philosophy and loves telling anecdotes that climax too soon.

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July 2024