Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Passing through Peshawar

By Shadab Zeest Hashmi


I know each poplar and willow of this town,
how telephone wires sag with the weight of belligerent crows,
the Tonga-horses wait at red lights.
I know afternoon shadows on slate verandahs,
the squeaking of a rusted see-saw,

the breaking open of a walnut in a door-hinge;
its embossed shell, a secret cracking;

the winter sun warming the mosque’s marble,
plums sold in crates on the road-side,
corn with salt and lime,
the radio at the tandoor playing
filmi songs, the whiff of Lux soap.

I almost say to you,
Look out the window,
look, look, look!
My library with beetle-eaten furniture,
my raw silk bazaar, my ancient fort!
And look, the bakery that sells pink coconut rolls!
And look, there I used to get my hair cut.


One turn and my town will once again
socket into its timeless hollow
what I remember, what I know.
The bus will pass
all these things
before you click pause on your video game.

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