Poetry | Blind

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Text by Farzana Versey
Published: Volume 17, Issue 1, January, 2009

“Can you see people running?”
“Did you hear the shots?”
“Is there an attack?”
“I don’t know.”

Curtains drawn
Other humming sounds
Gag reality
Nature flourishes outside
My balcony is a carpet
Of green leaves
The railings soggy with rancid dew
Paint has peeled
Revealing a pockmarked patchy
visage of wood
The glass has developed a deep crack
Injuring the winds knocking on
the pane

There are injured looks
Frightened souls
What if?
What if the day repeats itself?
What if people get imprisoned in
their homes?
No one asks about those who have
no homes

They ask me my name
And make me walk down guilt lane
I can brandish a sword
Aim the barrel of a gun
Claw at someone’s flesh
But the knife has been blunted
The gun is rusty
Nails are already filled
With my own scraped skin

The slow rumblings of conscience
Have formed dents in the floor
Red-faced anger
Makes place for red-faced shame
It looks like a canvas I have slashed
Painted with my blood

I fall into a slumber of broken thoughts
Hammering noises wake me up
Asking for retribution
Haven’t I damned myself enough
With ruptured veins
And torrents of pain?

I gather a drop of wayward tear on my finger
And hold it against the light
It grows into a bubble
Everything floats in it

The city
Drowned in ennui
Nudged out of comforters
The city
Of lost dreams
In pipes
The city
Where laughter is a challenge
A technique
The city
Where slums have numbers
Yet when they are destroyed there
are no figures
The city
That sells its angst to the
highest bidder
And buys its own tragedy as a souvenir

There are cities
That live within us
And breathe their last
Wearing oxygen masks

The tear bubble on my finger has
Sorrow is bone dry
It is time to pull out my eyes
There is nothing left to see

Farzana Versey is a Mumbai-based columnist and author of A Journey Interrupted: Being Indian in Pakistan.

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