Agha Shahid Ali, Leaving your city

In the midnight bar
your breath collapsed on me.
I balanced on
the tip of your smile,
holding on to your words
as I climbed the dark steps.
Meticulous,
your furniture neatly arranged for death,
you sharpened the knife
on the moon’s surface,
polished it with lunatic silver.
You were kind,
reciting poetry in a drunk tongue.
I thought: At last!
Now I loiter in and out
of your memory,
speaking to you wherever I go.
I’m reduced to my poverties
and you to a restless dream
from another country
where the sea is the most expensive blue.

My finger, your phone number
as its tip, dials the night.
And your city follows me,
its lights dying in my eyes.

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Agha Shahid Ali, Leaving your city

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