A despondent building smeared with despair With all its doors and windows Barred with curtains and fears As if vicious dogs and vipers Were positioned as guards Over the emptiness within, Where my lonely steps in the corridors And coughs clamoured and echoed. The barren yellow walls With paint peeling off Like vigour from my heart Became pregnant with shadows To harass me with fears sneaking out of my skin How my spirit decayed Constrained within the asphalt straitjacket. A dagger which I held close to my chest While it sucked all red waters. I aspired for angels in the tomb But muck sprouted forth like petroleum Through my pain inspiring designs. Now I run out of my prison Casting back my skin of the solitary serpent Into the world crowded To meet the old wrinkled fellow Held together by his clothes and memories, To witness the man who makes out of tea and milk Fluid gold in little cups With scents flying off its surface like birds, To gape at the leaves layered with dust, And walk in the street, Named behind the damsel, Anarkali, Where people ride from everywhere Turning it into a festival. The monastery of my solitude tumbles down No flesh wanders through it To feed its famished walls No illusions slither up and down Lusting after memories of my presence The vampire of my youth—solitude— Dies away duped on its own darkness. The writer is a student of English Literature at Government College University, Lahore and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Published in Daily Times, December 6th 2017.