ma warns me about the men whom i’ve been house-hunting with, who’ve left my poems on by-pass that i am in constant motion-sickness- mimicking the love i’ve carried around in cufflinks of borrowed coats in ketchup stained napkins, forgotten in coffee bars in car keys on kitchen counters in bumper stickers of my old man’s trailer
ma knows i get nosebleeds at the thought of loving abeer so I keep him as a beloved, beloved memory bubble-wrapped in tragedies so faithful, a prayer is chewed out that ‘I write against forgetting’ against forgetting abeer.
abeer loved the henna on my hair so he’d habitually bring freshly plucked out gulmohars stolen from tauji’s farms; it was our thing. everyday at 4 am-we’d step out, barefoot, have hot masala doodh in little steel tumblers. while the slow moving winds broke a sweat in the humidity of madras he’d lick the milk moustache, formed on my upper lips and feel the heat trickling on my breast bones by late evenings the lighthouse would catch us fondling our chests at the shores of the marina.
Ma and I have love(ed) in different timelines she looms over my shoulder her sindoor; smudged her hands; tired she thinks I am a lonely pod with hope so godly that it has foregone too many bad omens ma forbids me to write another urdu poem another metaphor; lost in translation
Ma knows women in love are sleepy but insomniac she knows a woman’s weakness is hope being homesick, homesick of love. she knows our hope doesn’t want to be left unwanted she knows our hope licks all of our sadness, and drools in shame. But my hope still stays to want to be hoped for, some day.