Poem by Asnia Asim
For too long he pursued it by capture.
The moon would welcome on its powdered skin
the foot of his ambition, his flag.
Or as he dove deep, submarined
his appetite’s fragrance,
he wore out whales, god-like blue, until
they cried at him in his sleep.
Buildings he would design so
that they laid claim upon the sky:
raising them up even higher, swiftly, in days!
But then one day, the landscape,
overburdened by him,
began to breathe again
in the silent night of his absence.
Animals once wary of him, tiptoed
into his missing gaze, nibbling
on chestnut and grub,
and the ever-hounded pink lions
peered, trying to understand this impossible freedom,
birds of spring, as it bid them, flew vast,
they flew deep, and fruit, tempting
as it was to Eve, fell into it
on and on, with no one to eat.
And the myth that there once was a false god
— who knew how to take, and use,
and manipulate, but never give—
that rumor stirred no one.
Wait for how long?
Who should wait for his return?
Expect what from the vision of his mind?
Now he, who had forgotten the art of Stillness, sits far from himself—
the airport’s colorless terminal
aloof around him, and in the hallway window
once again another emptiness, and later
from screens within screens:
voices discussing the incomprehensible,
but his heart, under his shirt
still beating to live,
wondering what, through the fragility of skin
could somehow betray him— his heart
wondering if time had finally passed its verdict:
that he had never known love.
For there is an end to doing,
an end to subverting mountains,
and stealing rivers.
And a world that is done in so thoroughly
longs for a violent bloom.