Song of a Kashmiri Auto (riksha)

i can snake into tight alleyways
where mothers
ever careful not to splatter hot oil,
fry onions to mix with haakh[1],
that delectable old recipe
and wait and wait
and wait
for the boys to come home for dinner

and when they don’t,
i take mothers to all the morgues
in the city, and beyond
wherever they can sift for bones
if any remain
there are no maps

i am noisy, rickety,
heavy with old
plastic hearts,
film posters,
prayer-knots
my radio shut,
no doors
in this city where
time stands still and
runs – all at once
doors can be dangerous

I am open
curfews,
crackdowns,
cross-firings
and rain
I am open but not free
I am open but not free

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Notes

[1] Greens

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Ather Zia Written by:

Ather Zia is the editor oF Kashmir Lit (http://www.kashmirlit.org/) magazine.

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