Imran Boe Khan

Let’s Begin with this Sadness

this small animal outline inside my skull,
the death that found me before I learnt to call it by another name.

I want to keep her until God complains of my blasphemy.
I’m no longer the boy shielded from his grandmother’s corpse,

I have known the absent to not return.

I promised Rosa she’d be remembered,
that there is a way to stay alive without body & proof.

In time, it will be what it ought to have been.
There can be so fewer endings than we imagine.

How much can we lose before we get to the end?

Of course, the rawer materials are still here,
though others have come to clear the rubble, the decay.
Above your eyes, a swarm. Above my lips, I cannot tell.
Our marriage recedes into the mouth of our Earth

and slips into that crying time.
I don’t think either of us know
how to maintain the bones of it.

Nothing to see here and still we stare,
we who thrived in bottomless colour

are the new animals of black habitation.
After the death of our kissing game,
only the rings still shine.

Imran Boe Khan has recent work appearing in places such as the Rumpus, Cosmonauts Avenue, Yes, Poetry, and Sixth Finch. A previous winner of the Thomas Hardy Prize and a nominee for this year’s ‘Best of the Net’, he is the author of Hive (Pen and Anvil Press, 2020). Imran is a lecturer at Bournemouth University and lives in Christchurch, Dorset.