The Water-Tank

Written by Fatima Farhad for the collection: 'Life in the time of #COVID'.

Photo by Joshua Tsu

A poem in response to Youth Speaks' “Writing Prompts to Bridge Social Distance”.


You stroll out to the balcony in pursuit of an overlooked item,

take one glance at me

and look away for some other homely object

that may have a greater chance of giving you life observations,

but allow me to convince you of the poetry of my existence;

we're not so different after all, you and I.


I sit here tucked between your balcony wall and window,

your brother has to lean on the brittle walls on his palms and toes to get a look inside,

quite like the unreachable crevices of your heart and mind

that your family makes failed voyages to touch

but only returns shipwrecked.


I see you come out to the balcony to reflect,

you sigh and mournfully observe the grounds beneath,

your visits get less and less frequent,

doesn't watching unapproachable horizons tire you too?

The way the sapphire of the sky mocks my Egyptian blue.


Or is the taste of your thoughts too bitter,

that you run back inside to drink off your screen again and disappear,

the way I take solace in the narrow pipes

that bring me water from the depths of earth

and keep me upright.


You want to know if I watch my sister blue tanks,

dotted across the rooftops of all the houses in my view,

and find comfort in the thought that they reach for the same water cycle as I do,

maybe every few weeks we interchange

the molecules that flow through our veins and into our stomachs.


I watch you visit me every time you can't seem to subdue your emotions,

gushing over the smallest trigger and raising alarms,

well your family is known to turn the water-motor on and forget

so I guess I also know a thing or two

about overflowing when you don't mean to.


But you smirk because I've probably never known emptiness

maybe I am still unfamiliar with the echoes my own thoughts would make

when there's no calm water to deflect them

but when your folks leave,

and leave for good,

I sit here with water high 2 feet,

a sparrow's light step sends a shiver down my frame,

how I shake like a small child woken from a dream.


I guess we do have our differences;

I only have one flavour of thought,

I don't much pity myself,

and I'll never move from here,

unless a miracle or a calamity strikes;

unless you're waiting for the same?

Except I didn't choose to sit here and nurse rivulets in my heart.


Still waters may run deep, if they run at all.





Fatima Farhad is an aspiring writer from Rawalpindi, Pakistan, as of yet unpublished. She has a degree in English Literature and Linguistics, and is currently seeking admission in a graduate program.


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