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what the dying leave us

poetry by Zain ul Abidin Khan Alizai

what the dying leave us

(in memory of my gran, Qazi Ibrahim, a war veteran who ended up getting martyred in the backyard of his own home)
on some mornings, i snatch the sun
from the sky's embrace, place it
on my tongue and let it simmer
like hot butter it chafes my palette
when the bullet set to blood
my granddad's back he'd, nani says
"just come back bringing yoghurt."
yoghurt tastes like blood on a seared
tongue as iron melted in a bloody dance
that is why we don't talk about death
on the dining table as if the word
would choke us on our food or turn water
into silt. you have to let some things go
if you love them so i leave the memory
in the front lawn. unattended. abandoned.
not the best remedy when you are in a room
full of mirrors that show you the realm
in which propane sets alight the moon
ignite it into the moon of the fourteenth
sometimes my disappointments whisper
in my ears to pack up my footsteps
rub off sadness inked on to my forearm
put the sedan into the goodbye gear
like a manic on a divine pilgrimage
veer off the edge of the bright days
there has to be a speck of romance
in the fable of my granddad's death
or he might have not thudded to the ground
like he must have embraced it.
in slow motion. the man calls you shadow.
the man hides you in his coatpocket.
or not. the front door is left open.
so is the fridge. the rancid yogurt is left
open kissing the sink. i wait for mercy
to come back. i wait for the muddy ground
to take me into its embrace. i wait.


Zain ul Abidin Khan Alizai

Zain Ul Abidin Khan Alizai is an eighteen year old Pakistani poet. His works have been published in Shallow Oceans, COUNTERCLOCK, Rigorous Magazine, riggwelter press, seafoam magazine among many other places. His poems have also been a part of two Indian anthologies titled Fledglings and Bhor. His work has been recognized by the Indian NewLeaf Poets Collective and NUST. His essay, American Heritage was also accoladed by the United States Consulate of Pakistan. His debut chapbook is in progress.

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