I Have Never Seen What Horrors Lie Behind My Mother’s Veil

The cosmos comes alight as galaxies approach one another
their tears like cut glass, knowing that
the slightest touch, an inkling of closure can kill.

Splinters carved by the uneven sycamore against her bound hands,
A whoosh of wind through the folds of her shallow cotton saree,
Cold-like needles against her supple red cheeks
Force her eyelids closed.
Do the tears come?

When truth consents to hide behind truth,
Behind truth, behind truth, behind truth, behind truth.
A semblance of shadow-
Like smoke exuding from the pallid skin of wilting mothers.

They seclude the scarring – the souls’ corrupt.
A mother always protects her child.

I have never seen what horrors lie behind my mother’s veil –

The powdered skins she wears on her parade through damnation.
The big blue smile plastered on her dwindling spirit.
But as her firebrand peeks through those
pleading almond eyes, cries, “Human!” I know

That when pain consents to hide behind pain.
Behind pain, behind pain, behind pain, behind love.
A semblance of shadow-
Like smoke exuding from her charred, pallid skin.

And as she burns at the stake and stars implode in the sky,
My longing for the scent of flesh in flames,


Photography by Asgar Azwad.

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