Hello, Brother
(A reflection of Zubair Ahmed’s poem of the same name)

Sometimes during quiet summer
afternoons when everyone is
asleep, I sit at your desk.
They took away your half
of the bunk-bed anyway.
Aai still calls your name
in our empty house
and Papa sits very still.
I think he pretends
not to be listening for you.
Sometimes I will look down
and imagine I am you instead
or that I can see us still
racing each other for the sake of it.
Rani barks at our ankles, and
when the breeze makes coconuts
fall on car roofs and foreign films
play back to back on TV
we bond like hydrocarbons.
And the monsoon—dirty rain,
Aai taking us out for walks, pressing
your hands in hers and mine, three
of us, slowly, and damp.
Rani is dead now, no dog now
but then at night, we fall asleep
to the sound of you telling me
how instead of God, a giant brain
floating in space, controls the world.
You did not need to—I already knew.


Diegesis: going native

(To preserve the format of the poem, we have made it available in a PDF document. Please click here to access.)

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