Moniza Alvi

Two Poems

Better By Far                 


By bus?
Better by far a magic carpet,
finely knotted, richer
than blood, broad enough
to keep the family together,
islanded, apart
from every danger,
journeying smoothly
across the unsegmented sky –
not in the cauldron of summer,
but in the fresher feel
of the last of winter,
the lucid mornings,
the greeny tinge
of the evening air,
Nehru to wave them on
and Jinnah to welcome them –
my grandmother, her pots and pans,
her lamp close by,
her parcels of layered clothes,
like mattresses,
Ahmed and Athar jostling for space,
Rahila, Jamila, Shehana,
the ‘little’ sisters,
a conspiracy of three,
with names, like mine
all ending in ‘a’, young girls,
cross-legged, daydreaming,
disentangling hello from goodbye.





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