This, That and Nothing

I stand by the roadside
Waiting for something
Or perhaps nothing?
A man walks past,
Limping towards me
With a burning cigarette
In his left hand
I move aside in a jiffy
And notice a little boy
Pretending to be a puppy dog
“Wow wow”, he frolics
On the concrete pavement
As his mother turns to his father
“Which comic shop should we go to?”

It’s a cold rainy day today
I hear gunshots in my thoughts
One hundred and thirty two
Little angels somewhere
On the other side of the globe
Have been done to death
In cruel vengeance
By six young men
Seeking heaven

I turn my gaze over my shoulder
Two pretty women are talking
“Have a Merry Christmas!”
“Bye! See you soon”.

I look at the locomotives
Parked in front of me
A man from the other end
Smiles a gentle “Hi”
I am perturbed

The little boy is back
With a bag full of articles
“I want to go to another comic store”
I look at the cell phone in my hand
Messages from across the world:
We stand in grief with Peshawar

Women are shopping for the holidays
I see a pair of dogs
Outside a coffee shop
Sniffing past my legs and feet
And cuddling on to their owner
In warm affection

My hands are trembling
I look around for my car
Where am I going?
What was I waiting for?

         © Sadaf Munshi.

This Is No Dream

Ah, the poverty of the written word!
It does not carry the punctuations
Nor gestures or embellishments
Of a spoken utterance
Listen to the silence!

I went sleepless and troubled
Hiding under my pallid skin
As a thick blanket of darkness
Enveloped the starless night

This is no dream, my love
For dreams have no anchors –

You have frozen in space
Like a timeless statue
A figureless corpse
In a remote galaxy

Do not be disturbed
When I break through
Your protective armors
And quietly slip in

© Sadaf Munshi, Denton, Jan. 19, 2014

A handful of sky


Memories of a handful of sky
A moonlit night
A heavenly garden
Moments frozen in a macrocosm
Mired in haziness
A collage of images
Of the dead and the doomed.

A treasure
Of a thousand smiles
A ten thousand cries
A million hearts
Breathing hope
And drinking grief.

Mothers’ frantic calls
Sounds of the marching boots
Of soldiers, warriors,
Freedom fighters.
A neighbor’s cry
At a newborn’s death
Curtained windows
And latched doors,
Blacked out evenings
And macabre mornings
Waiting for deliverance.

A faceless figure
In the deadly dark
Sucking at a juvenile’s blood –
Tell me who you are
What you are –
A priest, a saint, a sinner?

Give me a word
A sword
To tear through
The deadwood,
The senile past,
The arrogant enemy.

Give me my handful of sky
My bit of earth!

© Sadaf Munshi Oct. 6, 2011