About the bodies and their dark locations

Afsar Mohammad


the days are broken,
the nights too.

the words are broken
the home and the streets, too.

the crumbs of the leftover food
mark the dark body.

the blackness
scares off all nights and days.

scanned under each scorn eye,
this body is some dubious vision
inching or crawling through many narrow alleys.

at some sleepy street corner,
the murky day ends in a dreary nap—

hundred and ten dreams
shatter this little doze,
while tons of arrows and swords
thrown fast from a hidden
golden period of the killing fields.

now such concern for my food
and our single mothers,
fatherless fathers,
the broken plates and partitioned waters.

what do you know
how this body impatiently scales its shadows,
while you keep scanning
its innards and the deepest locations.

this dark belly is
some storehouse of every possible
and dreadful desires.


Illustration: Amrita Samanta.

Afsar Mohammad teaches in the Department of South Asian studies at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. Afsar is an award-winning/ published poet in English and his home language of Telugu—a south Indian language. He has published five volumes of poetry in Telugu and his English poetry will be out soon. He has also published a monograph with the Oxford University Press (USA, 2013) with a title “The Festival of Pirs: Popular Islam and Shared Devotion in South India.” He is currently working on a new book with a focus on the history of Muslims in the city of Hyderabad, India.

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