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Bakhtiyar Ali


My secret, her secret

conceived you,

Love created you: kneel

and prostrate yourself to

no one,

You who are conceived of

imagination’s secrets, of

being’s enigma

These are lines no other

human being but me

knows or understands, the

blasphemous verse recited

by the ghazal-speaking

youth on the night he was

drunk. They are the same

lines he recited when

sated after intercourse.

The mullah who baptised

you was a religious scholar

and a friend. We fought

over and debated matters

of faith and the hidden

aspects of Sharia. He was

a keeper of secrets and

knew something of the

torments of my heart. I

made him swear that he

would bring me the secret

of that poem and write

down for me the lines

inscribed on your delicate

flesh. He was an adept

code reader, someonewho

could resolve mysteries.

No one else could have

read the secret of that

line. That day I was on fire

from morning to evening. I

oscillated between fire and

tears and, when he arrived

with the lines, I was in

agony. He was astonished

at my tears and moans,

and as soon as he said the

first line, I recited the full

couplets to him. He bid me

goodbye in great sadness

for this was a mystery he

could not resolve. Who




Who? You were my son

and my evidence is the

verse drowned in your

blood and your flesh. I am

your father, an imaginary

father. You are my son, my

imaginary son.