DesiLit Magazine [title]

After the Burundian percussionists have bowed goodnight

Akbar Hussain

The heating in the car is reliably annoying:
My eyeballs dry while my toes don't yet belong to me.
These are my concerns, the heating, the condensation,
The slow heft of the car as it makes its unsteady way
Down between the snowy banks of a concrete river,
Choked with the sediment of human striving.

On an island between traffic lights,
there grow prehistoric reeds.
With stiff upper lips, they sway.
Their faded dignity is proof positive
That there was something else here,
Something other than this highway
Which shows no sign that it will ever heal.

The rigid swaying of the reeds is silly, I tell my passenger.
We laugh safely and turn the radio dial, in search of fresh excitement.
What we do not do is acknowledge the awful truth:

Something has gone missing here.
Something important has been pushed away,
And will never return.