Family Tree

Slowly, sickly, our tongues turn
to yellow leaves.
Like an unclean face, wrinkled
there were hundreds of us,
mouths twisting around branches
a slippery wet cry as we fall
breath snagging,
desperate like a mole gasping for light
a cluster of yellowing spots, stems
clipped from the root like moths
we hovered, downward
held in the air –
I bend my back and reach out
wind stirring the frothing vanilla night.

We whirled in the half-light
mistook the stars for one of us.
They, ablaze, dust the ground
below I crawl to your body, curl around you
my star, mother, fallen

I clench down, teeth to your shine
but the wind drags and tears
slowly, sickly, my mother shrivels
back to ochre, a dulled leaf wrinkled
buried under dirt.


Nabeela Saghir is a recent English graduate from Keele University, and currently runs an online blog on all things poetry, including reviews, advice, Q&As with other writers and her own work. She enjoys writing about both familial and romantic relationships, mental health, and has a particular fascination with fruit imagery in her poems. Nabeela’s literary inspirations include Kim Addonizio, Amy Lowell, Li-Young Lee and Franny Choi; she also aims to publish a short poetry collection in the next few years.