Volume One, Issue 3

Zain Ul Abidin Khan

Ode to a blemished self

the sliver of the life trickles down the cold bars, slides
down and blinds me to the point where I see clearly

i the sun stifled and perspiring in the muddy palms of the village-lad. i the pebble a wondering child throws in the water, on a pond bank. i a scuba diver, no gear, stranded deep in the labyrinths, the chambers we name a heart. the bronzed bloody container of hurt.
all blood. all mess. When I look up for the sky, I don’t see the cinnamon colors i did. i the child now and sky the murky pond.
the moon died last evening when its buddy revolved away. my light did the same when I confronted the truth. the most blackest of all.

life is a yin right now.

the buttery pale yellow light divides the colors it has so rote learnt. its tiny little core brimming with blues and reds. it springs towards me. i no longer coffee. i no longer cinnamon. i a pallid drape of a cheap shroud. the yang plants. the yang a C4, to blow up my insides. i no longer remain.
the cracks in the ground eat me up. the flowery air sucks on my odor like a starving bee.

i no more a beating. i a hunting ground. i only a theory. i the pot at the end of the colorless rainbow.


The first time I floated in my homely, badly bruised
bathtub, made of all the choked fantasies my household
drained in its skin and it seeped up into the pelt of those
who wished to absorb a void of everything. It occurred
to me — every second lazed around in a drowsy drunk state.
Every moment stretched long like the bubble gum I scraped off
its bottom. It was stuck there as if to take in all the sins we wash
away in those waters.

I was dead and yet alive.
I swam underwater, vainly trying to keep my breath
and not die. I was wanting to be a lively dead mannequin,
brushing my hands with all the goldfish. All singed with a
melancholy we don’t find in lush aquariums. It was like
an aquatic apocalypse, only with me not as the protagonist
we all despise.

I know why water bruises skins when in excess.
It drains all the harshness it bears in itself, absorbed
before. I asked mother that inquisitively, without a clue.
“Doesn’t water bruise our insides?” was what I asked.
“We are already bruised and battered in there!”

I will hop in again tonight, I confess.
Dip myself in the calm fluids. It is my
rebirth and again the waters break. My
salvation and my reincartion. Again
I will float tonight, when the night kisses
the next night.

Again, I will float tonight. Float dead.

Odyssey of a chubby, freckled, fat & Black maiden we love to despise and never have

Her haunches haunt our consciousness
we never want a bloated balloon with                bulging edged
“thing”       for the senseless monster we breed      in our
homely stables!

Zain Ul Abidin Khan: "I am a ragged blooded, young, soon-to-be-sixteen, passionate poet hailing from Pakistan. My works dominantly delve into topics of race, identity, body and societal imaging. I have been regarded as the youngest published poet of the country. My works have been published in Reflection W&R, two upcoming Pakistani anthologies and an Indian anthology titled Fledglings. I have conducted a training workshop of poetry in one of the most reputed university of my country. I spend my time adoring good food and silently contemplating the universe, all the whilst waiting for an answer from the publications!"

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