Featured Poem

The Courtesan's Reply - Tambulasena

In the beginning
my whole body was covered with skin
hard as rock. Then he came

and his mouth was a river
running over me, cool and quick
with small, silver fish.

Night after night
he shaped me
and smoothed me

to my velvet


Now, I bathe while he watches,
feel his eyes,
fireflies on my skin.
I bend over,
my hair, a curtain of water
between us.

I let him towel me dry,
his strokes soft at first, then brisk,
like a cloth shining a lamp.

Water drips down
my back. He grasps the rope
of my hair and climbs.

» Read notes
Shazea Quraishi
Original language:
Series 3 No.12 - Freed Speech

About the author

Shazea Quraishi

Original poet

Shazea Quraishi

Shazea Quraishi was born in Pakistan, grew up in Canada and lived in Madrid before moving to London where she works as a write...

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