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Issue 3.2

Summer 2023

Ibtisam Shahbaz


This entry is an extract from a larger work of poetry which I hope to publish as a collection. The concept for this book is a collection of poems relating to grief, loss, sense of belonging and identity. My poetry collection begins with inspiration from nature, which often becomes the representation of the exposed emotion. Through imagery, the poetry meditates on love, identity, religion and storytelling. These themes are investigated overtly and covertly within the writings. Reality and fantasy are continuously re-interpreted to find poetic meaning within such life experiences. 


There is some sadness hiding amongst the roses, things that have been left unsaid

Time has become a sleeping giant and we, parallel rivers with a convergence of none

Your broad shoulders fade in the distance as you turn a corner

Is it my remembrance or love you are avoiding?

And is it the pain of the past, I am hiding?

We act as if these are phantom threads, fallen from Clotho’s spindle

Yet stolen glances reveal much more

Ones the untrained eyes of youth could never decipher

Like parallel rivers we sing in unison

Currents, breathing life

Shifting, in hopes to unite

Yet Atropos shears lay ready in her calloused palm

The leaves of the otherworld are decaying

For the day even swollen rivers will run dry

And perhaps dried sea lavender on Lachesis shelf,

is all we were ever to become.

Ibtisam Shahbaz is an emerging writer and poet based in Naarm. Her work is influenced by her childhood in Australia and Pakistani heritage. She has worked with Red Room Poetry on their annual Poetry Month and Poem Forest projects. Her fiction has been published by outlets including Monash University Publishing, Old Water Rat Publishing and Hawkeye Publishing. She is currently the Poetry Editor at Be:longing Magazine. You can find more about her writing journey at

Ibtisam's Book Recommendations

The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

The Essential Rumi by Jelaluddin Rumi

Letters to Milena by Franz Kafka

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