Pretty Boy

An image of a hand turning the page of a book. Its veins are visible and raised.

My veins bulge when I read good poetry. Did I ever mention that?

My veins bulge when I read good poetry.

I wrote a poem about my grandmother once. It spoke about 40 years of her widowhood. She asked me one night what I write about. You, I wanted to mutter but I was too ashamed of admitting how I use her for poetry. Did I ever mention that Urdu and Persian are the only languages she can speak? So I tell her translation would ruin the charm of my words. Then teach me English, she said. I ignored her plea. I am afraid she wouldn’t love me in English, for she barely knows what love is in her mother tongue.

Did I ever mention I cannot ever walk alone because of a childhood trauma? Ignore that. I prattle when I am anxious.

I carved a space inside me, for a man who once on a miserable evening cracked fourteen knock knock jokes because my cat went missing. The space is hollow now. It echoes my humiliation. Did I ever mention that because of his selfishness I have to leave behind my favourite poet? Now he will forever sit on my study table waiting for me to hold him. If only he had some courage to stand up to his virtues. If only.

My needs are growing teeth. It wants to munch away the distance. God how you make me want to wrap you in a bundle of colourful words and send you to heaven because you are too bright to belong anywhere grey. You are such a pretty boy. Did I ever mention that pink suits you more than it suits me? Take me to the ocean. I have so many stories to tell you.

I am running out of time. I have to learn how to love my mother in separation. I wake up in the middle of the night and beg God to be kind to her. Did I ever mention - … I am too chicken to mention I love my mother so I’ll finish this poem some other day, when I have the courage to tell her the earth revolves swiftly just for her, so she can walk without falling.


An image of Simra Sadaf, a person with long dark hair smiling into the camera.

Simra Sadaf, from Chennai, India, has pursued her Master’s in English Literature. With a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology, she has an abundant knowledge about the workings of a society which she incorporates in her writings. Literature drives her spirit and words churn her soul.