Behenchara

Questions Of Home

Artwork by Shaza Irfan 

By: Saba Emna Mir

I travel so far,

but my body is home

for it, I do not atone

lashings in blues and reds

stretch marks etched

like a long, staggered cloud at sunset

wrapped around the belly of earth

now deemed old epithets,

yearning for tongues to reveal brown, aged meanings
rooted in hot soil that pushes between the toes,
of ones gone before the ones you know

I take it, with long stares at my form

my nose, wide and perched,
it waits to answer the questions of home,
when all it has known is cold wet afternoons
striding between towered, grey pillars

my burning spiced flesh, fuming in English rain,
leaving a red mark of mirich on the ground,
from where-ever I have walked,
to be washed away –

swirling into grates,

underground

flowing right to left,
when we read from left to right
aghast as,
even in Lucknow, the men wrote the Rekhta’s
I myself imagine, kissing golden skin
which sings free in the night

backs bare on earth with our fingers in a triad,
raised up to capture,
Orion’s belt in the cosmos –

the crickets chant us to sleep

now my ears are upon another ground,
of blaring pub karaoke over binaural beats

pulsing to a spirit unknown,

putrefied from gentleness,

simmered chai in a round,

domes of clayed roofs,

dyed spun wool under lanterns at midnight,
Honesty,

water from the well,

haldi stained hands to reach inside
growing down into the hole, stop-less, endless
the fingers becoming ropes that can
drown you to any symphony

half imagination, half dream

one whole Longing

as I slip through the ancestral plane

to come around, dizzied to a place
which is foreign to me
– and I, to it –

only weeds grow through these pavement cracks
which are stamped down by strangers,

these ones do not smile –

they pass through small puffs of cold air
that surround me like human fog,

carrying me to the depths of downtown alleys,

drowned with the smell of frying oil and car fumes,

until I slip away

 

I am in Hilal park, Karachi

my mother holds my body, adorned

In a small, puffed, meringue dress

I like it here, but I will never recall why

until I track back from my essence to the land –

timelines bent like desperate recon

I am shaking on any grass,

grasping for the other side,

longing for Eastern sun,
that glows up my dress and squints my eyes
under a head of soft, mossy, hairs
sheltered by thick air
I am laughing, protected as she holds me
later she will pray

Bio: Saba Emna Mir/ they them/

Instagram: thepullofthetide_art & rhor_ki

‘Saba is a Queer Pakistani-British creative based in the UK. Their academic & personal work revolves around themes of Gender, Race, Spiritualism, and Chronic Illness. They use art and words to navigate the intersecting boundaries of these concepts, drawing upon lived experience and commentary on wider structures. They are actively seeking ways to dismantle institutional barriers for Disabled artists.’

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