Ode To Naani Ammi
thumbs & astaghfaar astaghfaar
she sings for her fears
are all too real.
My naani, her anthem of bliss is for
me. Her moonlight of the times when she
lit up the cowfat lamp. Her
beeping radio sound before blackout
Our veranda flooded in eulogies whispered
by naani. she gifts me talismans
she kisses for the umpteenth time before
bed. her poems are mercy. She
calls me mercy. calls me soothe. butter ghee.
calls me the warm oil she floods
my hairline with. Her touch - all feeling
When the gappaywala wails, wait
wait, let silence brood the air &
this is harbinger, she is that autumn
tree I'm preserving. Don't you see
She is me. She/me thumbing tasbeehs
I collect pearl lotuses and embroider
her sapphire necklaces. her tinted
hairline down the equator
on being fat & dying
no whispers, no moving jaw.
sealed mouth you carry
me – in your quake
singed with all the powers
The first time he called me fat
& sick & useless like the Chinese
leftovers, Trump and armpit hair.
He meant it.
He meant it when he staked chemo faggot
through my pelt. I blame DNA like
an unwanted reality, like that surgery
scar kissing my belly. My war prize.
46 chromosomes and my dying light
46 chromosomes & nowhere left to go.
He meant it when he pushed me
down the concrete sidewalk, smell
burnt tyre & sugar spit like it’s heavenly.
like chomping down nails is an act of god.
He asked me to shake the dust & I prided
forever. in sap, skin – all the flesh &
this saturated oil in everything in me.
No blood, no room to call home
adipose a native city. Plump, yet mellow
Whisper in my skin
& love me no more
Zain Ul Abidin Khan Alizai is a seventeen year old Pakistani poet, regarded as the youngest published poet of the country. His works have been published in Shallow Oceans, Red Queen Literary Magazine, Rigorous Magazine, Counterclock Magazine, The Scene & Heard Journal among other places. His poems have also been a part of two Indian anthologies titled Fledglings and Bhor. He juggles his time between churning out lyrical word kisses, debating contests & balancing his life as an army cadet. His debut chapbook is in progress & he wants you to know that no matter what, it'd turn put to be alright!