• Abida Uddin


Your boys are brittle

with religion rattling through their bones

but with you gone, they no longer fear god.

They make broken homes out of the women who love them.

They wish to set the world on fire with all the girls in it,

all the girls who grew strong without them.

They run the city into riots,

sounding car alarms and

breaking shop windows that rain

glass and hearts that bleed

out into the city drain.

You watch the rats scurry back under

the platforms, waiting for the next train.

Crows flock at their feet, feathers dark with disdain.

Your boys climb into the mouths of children,

screaming in pain.

You hear them curse upon the stars with

petrol burning in their veins,

your boys are hungry, so

they feast on all the light,

daughters, mothers, sisters and lovers alike.

You wonder why they’re angry,

so eager to destroy the night,

it’s been years since you’ve last seen them.

Your boys are violent now,

they are mean and

they are ugly with words

that smell like you;

Cigarettes and car fumes and crying women at four am.

Their feet are hot with a fleeting sense of goodbye.

Your boys lose love of familiar places:

Football games where no one is quite winning,

fishing for stones, only to see them drown again.

Trips down the river, where the water is warm and grey.

Building tree houses,

spending most of their time

under forts of white pillows and blankets,

and glow in the dark stars too.

Mornings of hot chocolate and cartoons,

collecting forests for fires that only burn blue.

Now, they sit in cold darkness,

nothing left to say.

Your sons were born waiting for you,

to come home one day.

By Abida Uddin