Necessary Friends

you’re at a lunch party, talking less
forking a bruschetta, careful not to make a mess
thinking of a cheeseburger, of the galaxies and Euler’s Identity
not the colour of your lip matte

but you know you’re a bit of bore, a bit of a vagrant
you’re not thinking of a Hamptons vacation
in this assembly
your reticence is your salvation

sometimes they make your clear blue sky
partly, darkly cloudy
you’re being brave and they make you shy
queasy, uneasy, iffy

they’re making movies about the under-served
their smile is pristine but not for the maasi, the driver, maali
awards are conferred
for their activism, feminism—

you want to say — but what did you do then,
after the award distribution?
but you don’t want the ire, the retribution
so you only clap, cheer and validate
no one wants the truth; just celebrate

they’re singing a song, it’s jazz and it’s a hit
they breathe at the low notes, scream at the highs
but you’re not like them, not a queen
your thoughts take flight, back to the stars
in between

if the heart reacts are for the filters
of your painstakingly chosen photo
and not for the little prize you won
not for the small things, not pro bono 

if your really smart
diligently typed, manual pieces of art —
Facebook posts,
get only four likes

doesn’t say much about the quality of your posts
a lot about the quality of your friends



Featured Artwork: Chantel Lynn Barber

Alizah Hashmi

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