2 poems by zain ul abidin khan alizai
ODE TO NAANI AMMI
one two beads strumming down her pink
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
Embrace me in dying light
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