Fragile

A guileless little butterfly that once flew around my ears
is lying broken on the ground in a wilting mass of tears

It rose too high, it rose too soon, much beyond its depth
Did it have to meet its end in circling blades of death?

I hold its softness in my hands, my fingers much too bold
to offer comfort to its wings, remnants of a whole

What did it do to deserve this, this placid creature of grace
Did it have to suffer the pains known to the human race?

If this be the will of God, it’s a funny system, I say
One that lets beauty know: there’s a heavy price to pay.


Murzban Shroff is a Mumbai-based author of three books: Breathless in Bombay (stories), Waiting for Jonathan Koshy (novel) and Fasttrack Fiction (digital shorts). To date, he has published fiction with over 65 literary journals in the U.S. and garnered 6 Pushcart Prize nominations. He is also the recipient of the John Gilgun Fiction Award.

Murzban’s short story collection, Breathless in Bombay was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize as the best debut from Europe and South Asia, and was rated by the Guardian as among the ten best Mumbai books. His novel, Waiting for Jonathan Koshy, was a finalist for the Horatio Nelson Fiction Prize and has been published in India and China.

A collection of digital shorts, Fasttrack Fiction, is a one-of-its-kind project created specially for cell phone readers. 

Murzban’s fourth book, Third Eye Rising, will be published later this year, with an independent house in New York.