The Tailor
tabish nawaz

The first time I learned reading

I stitched alphabets together

cobbled them into words,

proclaiming, after each letter,

the shape of the sound.

The seams in the fabric of the language

                                                        would echo

the silence sweeping around them.

I could hear the spaces – that separated the letters

their shivering

even when all stood together, meanings shrouded them

the hum held them straight.

The unspoken, the unwritten trembled

as the needle of my tongue sew them

with the thread of the language

into the fabric of our conversation

in porous, see-through clothes.


Tabish teaches Environmental Science and Engineering at IIT Bombay. He has recently published his first short story collection Opening Clouds, Fermented Rain (Hawakal). His poems, essays and short stories have been published in The Critical Flame, Shimmer Spring Anthology, Ethos Literary Journal, The Punch Magazine, The Conversation, Indian Review, The Bangalore Review, Flash Fiction Magazine, Kritya, Spark Magazine among other venues.