Gang of Brides

Gang of Brides
Ishq Jafri

I dreamt again of that forest.

Its iridescent floor waiting for the blessing
of my feet, bare and cut garish against river stones.

Then a gang of brides, shoulders anointed
in the attar of night: lilies, ashes and rot.

How they sweated in golden cobwebs.
How they tore off their veils to bare cheeks
rotting with the secret, soft massacre of husbands,
and mossy jewels for teeth, with which they crushed
the marble of tombstones, maggots dripping down their chins.

But most of all, I remember their moon-dried laughter:
a crepitation of twigs, gargling waters, wild honey–

I woke with it all thick in my mouth.

Ishq Jefri is a home-educated Southeast Asian writer. Their work has appeared in Rambutan Literary and The Fem. They spend their languorous days reciting pharmacopoeias and the backs of juice cartons, performing nightly rituals of dabbling in mythology, thanatology and anything macabre. They can also be found with their sibling at