A Child Testifies, Rage
by Imran Khan
I find the court bundles,
find the judge who
smeared my face with war paint,
fingered my veins for Pakistani valves like
my blood could be distributing homemade bombs.
In light that mother’s boyfriend
My granny taught me to dress her trees
with ballooning chapattis.
Has the name Imran Khan
I count twenty-five years next month
since granny told mum, “Ja,
jaldi.” I didn’t know what she meant
What Pakistan was in my spirit
was not purposefully
And taking into account his connections in Pakistan
My twenty-ninth birthday arrives without my footprints passing Istanbul.
My past has been traded for the soil our judge defiles.
I spit a full mile to his ground.
We must secure the child’s future here.
They try to leave an animal inside me
for the doctors, schools and courts to see
If mother takes child back to doctor
There is rage in the unmade doctors’ appointments.
Alleging physical harm against the father
There is rage in the bruises she comes back with.
Even where the child testifies
There is rage in each goodbye.
Father takes the child.
Imran Khan is a British Asian writer and Amnesty International speaker whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in the Thomas Hardy Journal, West Trade Review, The Bookends Review, Eunoia Review and New Asian Writing. Khan won the 2011 Thomas Hardy Award for poetry.
Featured image courtesy of Image Catalog.