I am a gunshot wound

Girl Floating in Water by Ophelia
Girl Floating in Water by Ophelia

i am a gunshot wound.
two tablespoons of Rooh Afza does not calm me, it either lights me up like Wills Navy Cut cigarettes or martyrs me to the ground like Vikram Batra.

literature books don’t sing cinderella songs to me, they either cry for a wicked shakespeare who fixes his cowboy hat every other second to cover his bald head or you find an american sailor bleeding on a japanese river bank. my compass has a blunt tip and when i draw a circle, i draw like a ten-year-old kid who never drew one before. i draw corners in a world that is a circle.

i am a bird born in a cage.
freedom scares me and flying feels like falling for a century. my ears are pierced but you will always find the black metal dangle earrings in a wooden case hiding somewhere in my cupboard. when they celebrate sadness, they celebrate me.

i am a postponed CBSE exam. students send prayers wrapped in glitter papers with ‘please’ written in calligraphy and sign it ‘to god’ but the paper is weak and it doesn’t reach the sky. their bismillah gets stuck in red traffic lights which take another academic year to turn green and their amen is replaced by an evil omen. yellow? i am colorblind to it.

Khatija Khan