Contributor Spotlight: Saba Z Husain

“Consider the Day”, “When December Runs into a Tree of Gold”, and “The Reluctant Mourner” by Saba Z Husain appeared in Issue 27 and can be read here.

We’d love to hear more about these three poems.

Sometimes, ordinary occurrences linger in my head and become images, and basis for a poem. If I’m lucky they come together organically as in “Consider the Day.” The kitchen door swings open, a game of hopscotch with my girls, and a poem emerges. I get excited when I land on something like “the joy of hopping/ between the lines”. I love the tallow tree in my back yard, and “When December Runs Into a Tree of Gold” was prompted by light filtering through its leaves. I’m always fascinated by trees, light, shadows, how natural elements can frame, or describe the texture or essence of a day. I like capturing quiet moments in time that would otherwise go unnoticed and be lost. 

What was the most difficult part in writing these pieces?

“The Reluctant Mourner” came about from the tragic death of a refugee woman. I was writing from the perspective of someone close to me who was affected by the death. I wanted to capture the enormity and heaviness of the day, but at the same time was aware of the sensitivity around writing such a poem. Other than minor edits, the poem pretty much wrote itself. Death, or an awareness of death is a common to all these poems, as is the presence of a mother figure, which surprised me when I looked back at these three poems, because I wrote them all at separate times. I often strive to connect the past and present with the future by threading different generations in a poem. It reassures me of the continuity of life. 

Recommend a book for us which was published within the last decade.

There are so many good poetry books, one is Ada Limon’s, “The Carrying. I’m lucky to have access to the work of many poets coming out of Houston’s thriving poetry community as well.

If you could have a drink with any living author, who would it be? Why?

I heard Kazim Ali read at a Gulf Coast Journal reading in Houston, pre-pandemic, February 2020, and I was mesmerized not just by their poetry but also the way they read, breathing words and lines into existence. I would love to sit down for a cup or two of tea with them.

What are you working on now? What’s next?

I’ve been writing poetry for about eight years, and finally took the time to put together a manuscript for my first poetry book. I hope I can get it published somewhere, soon. 

Our thanks to Saba for taking the time to answer a few questions and share her work. Read Husain’s poems, “Consider the Day”, “When December Runs into a Tree of Gold”, and “The Reluctant Mourner”, here:


Saba Z Husain was a finalist for the 2020 X.J. Kennedy Poetry Prize, and semifinalist for the 2020 Philip Levine Prize and Gulf Coast Prize for Poetry. Her work has appeared in several anthologies and journals including Bellevue Review, Barrow Street, Bangalore Review, Cimarron Review, Texas Review, Dallas Review, Natural Bridge, Glass Poetry and elsewhere. Saba studied Creative Writing at University of Houston.