Categories
Poetry

Poetry by Asad Latif

Courtesy: Creative Commons
TARINI

As the Intercity
takes a bend
a six-year-old runs
to a carriage's end.
Sixty-five years
have left me here.
"Where are you going?"
she asks.
"Oldcastle," I say.
"On this Newcastle train?"

She laughs
her way back
to the front.
Ballerina of a
swaying stage,
two minutes later
she's fetched
a colouring book
with parrots and
trees waiting to
be painted
in all the
hues
known
to light
or shade
before
this evening
is finally dead.

"How old are you?"
she demands.
"Guess."
"Eleven."
"Yes."

Infant balladeer
of my laughing age,
let's get serious.
Your name
carries mortals
across the rivers
of life and rage.
Here and now
Sing, sing and sing
of the seasons
winging their
way back in
to me
on a long
Australian evening
that abhors
any thought
of summer dying.

A station
approaches.
"Sweetie, come,"
her mother calls.

Oh no
Tarini.
Don't go away.
Can't you stay
to send me
on my way?
I wish
you'd see,
the traveller
receding in me.
When this train
comes to rest
won't your
eyes lift my feet
from platform
to concourse
and then
to the street
overhead?
Won't you see
my breath 
never break
its promise
to my knees
to rise in respect
to the nearness
of the new?
Won't you see
an old man
bowing
to the storm
in you?

Tarini
stay
or return.
Tarini
shape
my passing
into form.

 Asad Latif is a Singapore-based journalist. He can be contacted at badiarghat@borderlesssg1

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