A Poem by Neha Maqsood: Displaced from Karachi

A Poem by Neha Maqsood for TWSS Issue #16 ‘Crossing The Border’.

 

Raw black lines

cut out Karachi

from my heart

 

I’m not a refugee

didn’t flee

wasn’t forced

 

so then why

is this feeling

all-encompassing

 

displacement could

also be from

the shahi halwai

 

if it’s cold in winter darling

you’re simply not in Karachi

home is where the heat is

 

Pista, akhroat, chilgoza,

lie in the glass bowl

Mama has lovingly laid out

 

I feel the stickiness of my skin as

the South Asian teacher cries

out about sub-continental history

 

But, Miss!

Nehru and Jinnah are

strangers to me.

 

I don’t know the women who jumped

in the wells

with their new-borns in tow

at the Jalianwala Bagh massacre

 

I didn’t see the blood-stained bodies

Nana and Nani witnessed

when they headed to a new land:

Pakistan

 

I am not this history

I am not this mass migration

I am not the 2 million dead

 

not in the mix

not in the movement

but a reader of this history

 

But darling don’t get your wires crossed.

 

This blood, this body

you see now

has crossed borders

has escaped colonial legacy

 

The melanin in my skin

carries more stories of escape

and  promise

then you know off

 

So then why, mama,

am I displaced

from sub-continental history?

 

reading the words

from up close

but living them

from ever

 

So far.

 

Illustration by Mae Farrow. 

Karachi

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s