Main Na Bhoolunga

Translation: “I won’t forget.”

my father: sideburns down the length of his face my age now & ripe my age now & alive his husky voice’s crackle like the night’s wind through corn fields of bell-bottoms fields of pomade my mother’s overlarge sunglasses crowded on her face crowded in the only english movie theater that plays amitabh bachchan my mother watching the blown-out screen the smoke spilling from light how he is able to be in all places at once all the places she can’t be the man on the screen a kind of god maybe a kind of god maybe my grief at all places at once replaying their every story a kind of god maybe my father’s nazar his long look his luck-laced lungs breathing my mom’s hands in the theater as they whisper next to my father’s the almost touch blood electric my father watching her his sideways glance on her thick eyelashes so long it’s as if she never blinks my father’s stomach blinks & blinks and a thousand amitabh bachchans blink his insides his heart pumps main na bhoolunga on beat main na bhoolunga in chorus main na bhoolunga the theater singing my mother’s ghost fingers on his palm & maybe this is what falling in love is like: a more handsome man jumbling the intestines a more handsome man belting the song to the woman with the long eyelashes in the theater & you—afraid to blink in case she disappears in case it was smoke this whole time.
More Poems by Fatimah Asghar