At my uncle's hacienda,

as he likes to call it, and we humor him, 
though it’s really two rooms with a roof, 
terracotta tiled and country styled, 
surrounded by a moat six inches deep
to keep marauders at bay. But who? 
The villagers? The pregnant goat grazing
in the stubble of post-harvest paddy? 
The speckled white hen and her brood? 
She bobs up her head, comb & wattle aquiver, 
indignant at the thought of such transgression. 
So I watch the fish in the moat instead, 
thinking of the boy who peered into wells
hoping to glimpse for once then something,
but what is one or some or then or none
for prised and prisoned things? And yet
there they are, who have survived the nets
elsewhere, translucent and maculate, 
darting among the shoals and ledges
of their new habitation. Do they pause
to ponder the great structure that looms
glorious and vain above their heads? 
But pause they do, now and again, 
and seem to stare with bulbous eyes
and whatever sentience abides within
those laminous gills. And then a flash
of fins, a slow-blooming plume of dirt, 
and all that glorious unknowing. 

NAUSHEEN EUSUF is a PhD candidate in English at Boston University. She is a graduate of the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University and her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in The American ScholarSouthwest ReviewSalmagundiPN ReviewSmartish PaceWorld Literature Today, and other journals. Her first collection of poems, titled Not Elegy, But Eros, is forthcoming from NYQ Books.