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Imran Boe Khan teaches English at Bournemouth University. A winner of the Thomas Hardy award, Imran's work has appeared in places such as Sixth Finch, The Rumpus, B O D Y, and The Bitter Oleander.


Youth is an animal we lost one winter, that reemerged with a talent for loathing.

Desperate for a miracle-bearer that could preserve the mysteries it held sacred,

it absconded, returning with ashes in its hair and weapons held in gloved hands. I watched

my lover step into a hateful world and draw the babe gently into her chest, the way a mother

might. I approached it, wanting to show her I am capable

of such love. Come to me, my whole body tried to say. Until, at the critical transition,

I turned my back and the ash poured in.


Before she finished sewing the babygrow, it had become an heirloom. Part of her had escaped the body, diffused into the garment. Her voice is now a kind of cotton, faint percussion playing between the stitches. Clinging to the merest whispers, it is easy to forget which world is hers. Maybe she’s now a notion, an invention of the mind, or perhaps the babygrow does offer a hoist

towards the metaphysical, a thread between the woman she was and the being she’s become, a nod to what comes after the after. You could say I am slightly heathen, but only in the belief that I could perceive the metaphysical physically, the grace of love as it roams beyond this world.


The name of God was once sufficient for you. Until, just once, he showed up late. You hoped for grace, when we walked beside the church. If not grace, goodwill. If not goodwill, anything besides disinterest. Beyond the darkness, I imagined everything as it should've been, inviting the echo of what burnt and smoked inside you. Perhaps you were doing the same, imagining what was against what was not. Maybe it bothers you, what living has become. Unless apathy has made the wanting stop. Why stomp? Why beg? Friend, take the evidence seriously. Whatever enough is, will arrive for us. The world offers relentlessly to those who cannot respond.


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