I am not a pretty picture.


If I were a painting, I would spill

From the canvas,

Like fire that engulfs all the wood it can find.


If I were a colouring book,

My pages would be coloured in, outside of the lines,

in all the wrong colours.


Forgive me, for I don’t think I fit into this frame.

I was not made for critical eyes to interpret me-

Why I might be like this, or what it all means.


What you are doing here is futile-

Pressing new wallpaper over these uneven walls and

Vases on these tables to distract yourselves from

The disaster at the door.


Take heed of this warning.

This place becomes cold sometimes.

Vases break and wallpaper peels off.


And somewhere, not too far away from here,

there is an empty art gallery,

Vacuous and undisturbed,

With my name hanging from its arched ceiling.


But I am not a pretty picture.


And I hope that when you come to visit my gallery,

You will bask fondly in my absence,

For as long as I may live.

Sadia Ahmed, 2017

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