Nazm - Poem by Ranjit Hoskote
Our lives are voices in two heads.
The rest is background music.
In this city of high walls, the scores of abandoned music
flutter in the streets and my torn-out Aztec heart
comes to rest, a blind girl's paperweight.
Blindfold palmist, you've stitched our hands together,
completing accounts that the waking mind abandoned
to the faultless needlework of dream.
We lie embroidered on the mimosa.
I need no gauge of motives to tell me
why it has rained.
Clouds darken the windows, the lamps are lit.
You carry the incense from room to room.
I flare briefly, then go out,
a lamp you lit and forgot to trim.
Raw colours grate against the mind's palette.
The mirror promises only the dark.
The eyes that have glowed would rest on the mirror,
smoky lamps afloat on a clouded stream.
Forget the star maps of the Old Kingdom.
Dress yourself in night.
our hands can see in the dark.
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