Poem-A-Day: Saba Husain

I was driving to work when I first heard the news of the Columbine shooting. I was driving to a school where I was going to teach young people how to write poems and tell their stories. I was driving to a place where we never worried about anything more serious during a fire drill than how long we would be standing in the sun before the all-clear. I was driving down a tree-lined Houston street, enjoying the gorgeous weather, listening to the breaking news on the radio of something I could not have fathomed before.

This weekend is the 20th anniversary of that heinous tragedy, one which for many Americans was the first of its horrible kind, the hallmark of a wretched new reality. If I had a time-turner, oh the things I would change.

Like Homemade

One boy said it was like
cotton candy  
.                           moist bits
.                           on face and arms
warm batter
.                       splattered on walls
smudged notebooks
splayed in the halls
                  From under the desk
the ceiling appeared
.                                muffin-pocked
the air hard
like taffy at the point of no return
.                           crackling caramel
the light
of a hundred-thousand suns
piercing the classroom window
.                           maple sugar
when it burns

***

Saba Husain is a poet from Houston. She has published poems in Cimarron Review, Barrow Street, Natural Bridge, The Texas Review, Reunion: The Dallas Review, The Southern Poetry Anthology, Vol VIII: Texas, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Anklebiter’s Press: Kill Line, Mutabilis Press: The Enchantment of the Ordinary, and Jaggery Lit. She was a finalist for the 2014 New Letters Poetry Prize and received the Lorene Pouncey Memorial Award at Houston Poetry Fest. Saba went back to school to get a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing at University of Houston, after her three girls had completed their undergraduate education. She grew up in Karachi, Pakistan.