Her Heartbeat is a Palindrome

heartbeat is a pallindrome
Artwork by Ingrid Christensen

I am a woman who, 

Isn’t a woman, 

Half woman, whole liar, 

Half poetry, whole halves, 

Holed wholes and half a universe, 

Of whole men, she made a wardrobe of, 

She wears them today like 

The wolf wore sheep skin, 

And their bones the colour of 


Cluttering, jostling against

Each other, for a spot on her neck, 

Where she hides behind metaphors,

And in the dawdling, shy silence

Between air-raid sirens,

In the oasis cusp of her diamond cut,


When she pries apart her cratered lips, 

The sky spills forth, 

Where Gods dart about, 

Through alleys of unstrung prose,

And cling to tower tops, 

At the edge of heresy and

Her recurrent victims of overdose,

The Gods are afraid of her inferno, 

And the oaths scribbled in the,

Impressions of her footfall,

Oaths to birth divergence, 

And her scheme to

And feed to the children of Eve, 

The children of Adam. 

She would tell them,

Feast on these men and

Watch the world crash at your feet,

And flank your name

On both sides, palindromed

Would read-



She who, swallowed the ocean,

At nood-tide, the moon.

How did, a sidebar, 


The centre paragraph on the politician turned tycoon?

She is half woman, whole Bible, 

She b(l)ed rivals,

As their tongues fell, 

From a Munchausen slumber, 

Of courtroom perjury,

And she tells stories of 

Daughters who were once 

Forest fires, 

Now ash and sparse amber cinder, 

Akin to their mothers 

Still singing lullabies, 

From the pretty, pretty cage of urns

Sent there by fathers with rum for blood 

And violence for words.

She is half woman, whole Bible written in scars, 

And her skin, primordial nectar of the heavens

Lie melted and splattered on ceiling-frescoes

Snailing down oak walls of confessionals,

And when the sun slants crimson through

The eye of Mary on stained church glass, 

The men, once the colour of human, 

Turn devil red, for Mary,

Has cried the Styx on their soil, 

She has seen the crumbs of stolen Eden

In every girl fed glass before, 

She turned woman, 

And every mother who

Swallowed her own teeth,

Choked on the counsel of shamans, 

She is half death,

And whole woman 

No faith, 

And whole Roman, 

And her breath, 

Is the west wind, 

And she has run, run, heartstrings undone. 

She has sung,

With her saw-wing lungs,

And stung 

Sweet boys good-bye

Jasmines in their hair,


Away across the surface of martinis, 

Away, from her porcelain tongue. 

Her heart no deeper wound,

Than her memories,

Death will come soon, 

Sleep, sleep wayward son. 

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A neurodivergent 18 year old who is still learning about herself, you’d usually find Shazia either lost in an Ocean Vuong novel or watching people go by on the road with a marlboro in her hand and music blasting in her ears. An aspiring English Honours graduate, she is trying to make ends meet and failing miserably at it, for there is so much to do, a universe to learn and such little time.


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