Akif Kichloo

My Father Says Poetry Will Not Pay My Bills, Clinical Practice Will

On the inside of my ribs, dreams flower into guilt,
turn into a familiar heaviness there is no getting used to.
My chest is nothing but fire, a dry-wood house that will burn
until all my desires are repressed. In my window,
the moon glitters, as if trembling with truth. Tonight,
to keep from dying, I bury myself in a poem.
The moon shirks in shame. Hides behind my father’s
mountain of a shadow. During the day, the sun lights my sky.
My sweat lubricates pistons of some hereditary engine inside my limbs. I run
from room to room. Patient to Patient. With my father egging me on, I cure
every illness my god has conjured. See, in my profession I correct
my god’s wrongs. In my passion I wrong my father’s right.
I don’t know how this art came to me. I don’t know when I became
everything I was never to be. But these words creep up on me, you know.
Jump out of dark allies and rob me of all comforts of the world.
I never see approval in my father’s aging face. And I write a poem.
I never spot peace in my mother’s beautiful eyes. And I write a poem.
My brother keeps forgetting my name. And. I write a poem.

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Akif Kichloo is a poet of Indian origin currently alternating residence between Saginaw, Michigan (USA) and Kashmir, J & K (India). With a bachelor’s degree in Medicine and Surgery, he has been eating shoelaces for the past year because he gave up everything to write poetry.

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