for S. Karim
The end of it is the truest part of this life I have seen, and you
are quick to show me, still and silent, how sun sets in you.
Nana, yours is the body Nani sings together, her whispers threads
stitching sunlight back into your outer self before it nets you
in a web of its first and final flare. As thinned magnesium
ribboning out into dusty night: the sun unmet in you.
Now absence fills her, directionless, unguided. And yours
a cancer in her. Your starlit PET scan, witness of you
in living constellations of that lost battle. Unwilling you
let sun take leave, and night ingress in you.
It begins when I am still young, and you
are being sung to, the night grows long in you
and I untongued, do not yet know it divorced
of her voice. After, night groans, longing for you
to name it yours again. And every day, she loses you
again. The sun sets in you and night goes unsung in you
and I long for you to tell me at last what it had meant
to sing witness to death, tell how night undoes all of you
in living pieces. The tail of every night has spilled into years,
and I know she will claim it too. For now, night is yours alone.
Bio: Ayesha is an Indian-American poet based in the DMV by way of Long Island. She majored in Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University, and received her MFA in Poetry from the University of Maryland. Her work has previously won the 2018 Academy of American Poets University Prize and appears, or is forthcoming in the minnesota review and The Birmingham Poetry Review.