IMAGINING MY FATHER AT ATTAR CITY, KANNAUJ

RUSHDA RAFEEK

 
 

Friday. Agra’s train dips in plated moonlight
of steady rattle and steel. You sigh more than provide

pity into a biscuit tin, desolate as the beggar herself.

 
She could have been you; recalling the mangled shack

a home we walked away from, charting for finer windows

with pencils blunt, until sheiks of minaret stand chiseled

out of this russet arch, wide-mouthed.

 
Someone throws ancient attar chants, fistful.

A bottle already twists open svelte twigs of forest

seamed in your wrist. Vein after another. Easily,

you smear just an ounce, the mass of cotton. Let it

flutter like wings— its hunt for the heart.

 

 
 

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