to: god

A. Shaikh

My parents keep praying         

I only pray to make you stop 


jerking them around like          bait caught in a storm

red weight bobbing     dense  in the current. 


And, sure, my father looks like a man to you now

with his hands turned upwards                       

empty and dry

but years ago

his palms were drenched 

in the streets an Indian monsoon,

            full of wonder. 


     the time between girl and woman

            sinks like an anchor

in my neck and

my father mans the lighthouse, hungry and alone,

waiting for the shipwreck of my skull

to find its way back home.


it’s not right,    armiya,            it’s not right


He says when I turn from you again


my name no longer the same               as he once gave me

            as you once blessed to an angel

trapped on some page 

you never wrote because

your hands are ash and 

your mouth is phosphorus wet and 

you’re nothing                         at all. 


but still. I ask. 


The morning my body

turned harpoon

where were you? 


I have been writing this letter from inside the crab cage.