There’s No Lamp in the World Tonight : Saima Afreen

There’s No Lamp in the World Tonight

Darkness is a refugee

in our shadows

it’s a little child that wakes up

in the middle of the night –

remembering the rose chintz of my lamp

and a milk jug my grandfather brought home

from Germany during the World War

underneath the rose-gold hue was written Rosenthal

which I till now wrongly read as Rosencrantz

a name for treachery planted inside us

when the cities would be lumps of coal

under silent sirens

women noiseless like leaves

their sewing a story folded for tomorrow.

My article bled today

with a bloodshot eye

holding a pellet-stricken map

in its iris.

There’s power-cut in my body

my poet-skin refuses to see the calligraphy

that soft shadows of net curtains offer

or how the teak cupboard bends into a smooth curve.

Outside            the red moon

is broken into shards

a sliver of its hot glass falls

inside my inkpot.

Everything turns into vapour

this country, he, me, you

and darkness, too

crying in its chains

forever blamed

for the heads of dead soldiers

murdered babies or mutilated women

now all disappeared in a blind universe

where stars are torch lights

blown out on broken cheeks.

The darkness is ink inside a jug of milk

darkness is the well today

everybody is drowned in

and then silence,

stone    black

the buds forget to bloom

your breath once fire is cold

the wicks your eyes planted in the sky

are drowned

etherized their lights blink

their tips lit up with blood;

I pluck one wick

and set the carcass

of the moon

on fire.

Let there be light!

~ Saima Afreen

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