Rigorous
Volume One, Issue 3



Irteqa Khan


Siddhartha

“the essence lay beyond the visible
it was divine intention for yellow to
be yellow, trees to grow here, and for
iron to fertilize blooms of marine cucumber”
making me wish
we were blind once more

“people are children
stay nowhere but where the voice counsels
i have learned that from the river too
everything comes back again”
the soft hand is good
for more than giving

“i will learn about myself
slow yet pondering the man walked
asking himself
astral, indwelling, aplomb”
even though sour roses
make my heart ache

“they gave me this
and force and passion rise urgently
out of the rushing whirlpools that
impetuous hunter created”
standing in his palm awake
kind as ever




Sestina – Mèduse

Inside she respired feet asleep in the vociferous rhythm of the bleeding fire

Outside a decoupage of frosty talc while she touched the womb of Gaia craving to summon spring with wet fingers

She waxed and waned beneath her meek quilt, drunk on the moon

Who was the boy that bit a crescent shape into the moon as if it were a pyroclastic pastry?

What is written, what is written, what is written?

Gaia’s itinerant souls: the boy with the moon collapsing down his throat, and she, mortal mother of divinity conspiring to thieve his énorme1 confection


Bovine were the twilights prior to the moon being consumed, a hollow-dim carousel parading one sugary-sleek confection

The moon-lipped boy must have learned that she loved her serpent offspring more than her divine arrière2 into the arms of Gaia; she jeered into the bleeding fire

Robes saturated in dead stars she arranged her mercury-toed cake forks in a box believing in the written

This inane twilight un-curtained an alien perfection; the moon was fat and fantastical blancmange3 in her warped fingers

She slept with her darling serpents tied in a chignon, obscurity tore open her gaze to Gaia’s boy with a blade of light and in betwixt his wretched mouth sa4 pastry

Unwritten, unwritten, unwritten. Farewell, privé5 moon


The dirge was icy the casket hot, and she before the bleeding fire non affecté6 sang of the written

To a communion of serpents, a stallion, and a golden géant7 lapping the fingers of a divinely hemic confection

The boy with the blade of light was a lucky glouton8 eating the moon before her, a pastry for him alone



1 “Enormous” or “immense”

2 “Back”

3 Sweet white pudding dessert

4 “Her”

5 “Private”

6 “Unaffected”

7 A particular “Giant”

8 “Glutton”


Irteqa Khan: "I am a Pakistani-Canadian poet living in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. I am a current Bachelors student in History at the University of Saskatchewan. My work has appeared in the Poetry Institute of Canada’s Open Ages poetry anthology From the Cerulean Sea, and in St. Peter's College literary magazine, The Society."




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