“If dust had an alphabet, I would learn.”
— Aga Shahid Ali
Erelong, descrying a golden blush
When soft orange rays
Of an evening sun
Melding with gentle twilight blue
Bathed the distant creek
Into a crimson hue
And we gathered the smearing sun
In our solemn eyes
Yet today, in a scornful guise
Akin to a weary traveler’s grainy foot
This acrid night curdles in my throat
In sore lumps.
I weep pain
Into an ocean of shadows
Piercing a maladious spring beat
Frozen by wintry breath.
Staggering in cold valleys of death
I search for a long preserved sun
We once nurtured in our depth
But these eyes are all grit and haze
For those itchy nettles
Sprouting over moon’s balmy face
Have fortified my gaze.
Slithering knee deep into the blood of night
I exhaust all dankness for my parched lips
Whither, then, thrive your pearlescent pitchers?
Wherein, bred salves for an inmost loss
Haven’t they long embraced my unbraided cosmos?
And shared a yawning sun’s fitful toss.
I run for them but fret and fall
All pitchers are broken, you now serve gall.
I chain no hours
My clock is dead, or dying
Midst some moldy papers and antique reeds
Under a thick blanket of dust
Bruised memory weeps
The hour hand sleeps.
[Syed Rabea Bukhari (2015) is a postgraduate student of Public Administration in the Department of Political Science. She can be reached via email at: seemasrrb[at]gmail.com]