by Aftab Yusuf Shaikh

They named me after the sun,
who knew it would be
such a curse?
What loss must have
they incurred if
They called me dust or
an ass
or better still, a nobody,

But they loved me
and all sane brains know
how love advocates
the delicacy of idiocy.
The moon a beggar for light,
The sky a vague carpet,
the sun they thought was apt;
perks of being a summer born!

stars on earth they screamed
one night at the
school of life,
All kids ran to the womb
of the dark night and
marvelled at the
golden stars in the bushes,

While I had certain drawbacks,
I carried the day with me
and a vein-ramming halo
with my blood.
I was born an old man,
so no childhood for me.
I was destined to be the Sun,
so no fireflies for me.

PHOTOGRAPH: The author on Marine Drive, Bombay, India (November 2014). Photo by Muaaz Shaikh.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Aftab is the Persian word for “The Sun.” This poem hints at how the name of a person affects their life, or so they think.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Aftab Yusuf Shaikh, an Indian Muslim of Arab and North Indian descent, has been writing since the age of eight. and since then has published widely around the world in many anthologies, including The Dance of the Peacock, Before There Is Nowhere to Stand, and Microtext One, as well in journals such as Muse India, Frogpond, The Literary Yard, and The Istanbul Literary Review. His novel The Library Girl and poetry collection Anamika Talkies are forthcoming. Born (17 Nov 1989) and brought up in Bombay, his primary interest lies in people, history, religion and culture. He gained his Bachelor of Theology degree in Christian Studies in 2014 and is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Art degree in English Literature and Master of Divinity degree in Religious Studies. He currently resides in Thane, India, with his wife and parents.