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Time is running against me and I am trapped inside an hourglass / tapping my hands against the glass then banging my palms against the glass then bludgeoning my fists against the glass / hitting hitting hitting / hoping to make a dent / thinking thinking thinking / that somehow the hours will add up without remainders and make sense / that somehow all this overthinking will make a chink in the overflowing sink that is my mind, but the sea of sand I stand in rises quickly and I succinctly collapse into it, suddenly choking on silted soil and shards of gravel— I am unraveled as this deluge of sand washes over me, ticking surreptitiously, matching my convulsions like a quiet metronome—time is the cruelest referee I’ve ever known. 


Hours become eras become epochs in my mind and stagnation feels timeless because I feel it all the time / How can a broken clock tick with such a vengeance?/ These numbers have me outnumbered and I’ve succumbed to a slumber despite a restlessness that never sleeps / and an exhaustion that forever seeps. / A double helix fused together, they burrow themselves deep into the muted brown of my eyes only to be swallowed by the lies I tell myself: that somehow I will learn to better manage the milliseconds turned minutes turned months before time begins to recompense my skin and bones and lungs. / Time is the cruelest referee because of its immortality / but I am not immortal / and these weeks have already begun haunting me / first goes the mind but surely the body will follow / time will not be through with me until it wrings my skeleton hollow. 


~ Maaheen Shaikh ’25

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