Moniza Alvi


17 And Where?

Pakistan! the crowd roared.
Pakistan Zindabad! Long live Pakistan!

This country - her country.
A nation in its instability,

one that could change lives
with the suddenness of a blow to the head.

And Jinnah - his photograph was everywhere,
in the newspaper, on crumbling walls.

Jinnah, in his elegant Western-style suit.
As handsome as Nehru, she thought,

but too thin. He was ill -
some said he was dying.

Jinnah who'd had his doubts,
had once striven for unity,

but who now stood supreme,
the Father of the Nation

proposing
A state in which we could live and breathe
as free men…

Mohammed Ali Jinnah. And her lost son.
At rest in the afternoon, or on waking

she might picture them both,
one superimposed on the other.

*

Her country, and the other. The border
tantalisingly close.

At first easy to cross, no passports required.
Then increasingly hard.

The ever-disputed border.
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