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from our poet of the month: Mehnaz Sahibzada

Behind a mask

Getty/ Ingram Publishing

"When clouds gather / in the aisle of my mind, / eyebrows withering into space,"


My porcelain
mouth breathes
porcelain thoughts—
delicate as moon songs,
red as strange loves. 

I drift through this
supermarket of strangers.
this wretched beast
inside of me whispering
through my arteries. 

My porcelain heart
moves up and down
the staircase of my spine.
Sometimes its beats
take me down porcelain
streets, where it seems
my whole life
might break apart. 

Just a slight smile
could shatter
my porcelain teeth
when the sky turns gray. 

When clouds gather
in the aisle of my mind,
eyebrows withering into space,
just a blink could burst
my porcelain eyes—
just a shiver might shatter
my porcelain face.

Listen to Mehnaz reading Handle With Care:

Mehnaz Sahibzada shares her experience of poetry with S&H:

"As a writer, I blend the fantastical with the real.   My poems take inspiration from novels, such as Jane Eyre & Frankenstein, and mix them with images from genre cinema.  They also poeticize daily struggles with anxiety, uncertainty, and fear." 

Select poems from My Gothic Romance by Mehnaz Sahibzada. Copyright © 2019 by Mehnaz Sahibzada. Reprinted with permission of Finishing Line Press. 

More poems from Mehnaz Sahibzada:



About the Author

Mehnaz Sahibzada was born in Pakistan and raised in Los Angeles.  She is a 2009 PEN America Emerging Voices Fellow in Poetry.  Her work has appeared in numerous publications, such as LiminalityMoiraThe Literary HatchetEllery Queen Mystery Magazine, and Pedestal Magazine.  Her first full-length collection, My Gothic Romance, was published in April 2019 by Finishing Line Press.   A high school English teacher, she lives in southern California.  To learn more about Mehnaz, visit her at

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