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On the night of broken glass
he reads a poem by Faiz.
Outside, someone
drives under influence
down a frail bridge
across the river, after the rains.

jo toot gaya, so toot gaya

‘Khuda Hafiz. Khuda Hafiz,
Would there be salvage
after the wreck?’ asks
the squeaky wiper blades
to the tune of filmy rain
dance that fogs the pane.

Sheeshon ki maseeha
koi nahin…
‘No messiah of glass exists’
Huzaifa listens to the dead poet
he summoned as witness tonight.
‘Why do you hope perpetually?’

When we translate,
words come crashing down
with a terrible sound.
We pick them up
shard by shard.

Why do you hope perpetually?
Mend broken things with
the lacquered gild of art when
cracks keep branching
like streams of blood
and jagged music of barbed wires.

Why do you hope perpetually?
Write the word freedom on the mirror
And make it closer than appear

From the broken windshield
on the road, we gather a numbing
pain – crystals with the texture
of snow and look
for a patron saint of water.

(Huzaifa Pandit is under lock-down in Kashmir for the past 11 days. A poem by Agha Shahid Ali that I sent to him on August 4 has not been delivered yet. His last updates on FB were an Urdu couplet and what appears to be a partial translation of Faiz Ahmed Faiz poem Sheeshon ki maseeha)

Binu Karunakaran is a poet


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