Aqua regia

And all I see now
is my face through a curtain:
a pebbled pock-marked past,
its burning by-lanes,

and drop by drop,
like a leaking sewer,
his love, pungent,
corrosive, windblown.

And all I’ll see now
is my unborn child
learning the alphabet
and its vitriolic histories:

H for He, H for Hate,
H for Hijab, H for HCl,
and then the silent H –
H for Honour.

And if I could see now,
I’d tell you a love story –
of a genie in a bottle
of aqua regia, and

a kingdom where men
love with acid blisters
and write love’s
sour hagiography.

(First published in Ultraviolet)

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Open Space is a social network for young people interested in exploring and building a more equal, sustainable and inclusive world. OS is a forum for new ideas, expression, dialogues and learning on issues that concern young adults and their future. Share your views, articles, films and creative expressions on OS, and participate in our programmes. Open Space is an initiative of the Centre for Communication and Development Studies, which also manages India’s leading resource base on social justice and development issues

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