Poems

FAIZ AHMAD
Three Poems

WINTER SETS IN

when the chilly tap water
grabs me by the wrist and
chops off the same hand
over and over, like a butcher’s
knife in a blazing crescendo,
and almost eleven, I am
all attention to instructions
that my father mutters
in the dim slaughterhouse:
not the ribs, add a few bits
of shank meat, less charbi
memorizing the taxonomy
of flagellated flesh and bones,
hoping to make him proud
some day, a feeling that only
works to sharpen the cold
today.

SIGN AND REFERENT

When finally I left home, I thought I saw her
leaning against the wall, her weight pressing

against the doorbell and the hollow house
was an echo chamber of diatonic ex-symbols.

The next morning when I called her up, she
asked me things that were to later become a

routine, a ritual. Already, my mother’s words
had begun to refer less and less to anything

in particular.

AN UNREASONABLE WISH

In a dream that I had, they finally shoved me
inside a government office abuzz with a low

bureaucratic hum and handed me the same
application form over and over, since I kept

misspelling the name of my father who was
once my age and never again.

Faiz Ahmad is a recent graduate in Biological Sciences, IIT Madras, India. His work has appeared in Denver Quarterly, Harpur Palate, Salamander, and others.