The Rising

by Ibtisam Shahbaz

Smoke rises from tea leaves forgotten on the stove

Steam glides in the air, as cardamoms unfurl and crush

As the water gurgles, I sit in a maroon armchair, and contemplate.

There is romanticism in suffering.

And great joy when you pierce through the veil sadness upheld.

Deep within, I wanted to relive it all.

The critic never stayed for long,

It strayed by; a lonesome visitor

And when it left, all fell silent.

All I wanted was sanctuary

Yet I engaged in a waltz of evasion.

Shifting my weight, the velvet of the chair graces my skin

The star anise chars, and I still cannot find a mortal star to wish upon.

Silently, I fall back into my senses.

Have we not suffered enough?

My mental landscape becomes still water again.

Now I know how to handle the flood.

Life will be good,

I have already risen from much worse.

A woman with long dark hair, dark eyes and a beautiful smile, wearing earrings a dark jacket, and white cable knit top

Ibtisam Shahbaz is an emerging writer and poet based in Naarm. Her work is influenced by her childhood in Australia and Pakistani heritage. She has worked with Red Room Poetry, on their annual Poetry Month and Poem Forest projects. Her fiction has been published by outlets including Monash University Publishing, Old Water Rat Publishing and Hawkeye Publishing. She is currently the Poetry Editor at Be:longing Magazine. You can find more about her writing journey at

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