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

Graphic by Irfan Khan

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.

Splinter 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 soul’s 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 –


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5 thoughts on “I Have Never Seen What Horrors Lie Behind My Mother’s Veil

  1. iahn

    This is so beautiful! That shift from “behind pain” to “behind love” there at the end just makes it all the more genius 🔥


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