Sunday, September 22, 2013

Reykjavík

the city that could have been
if I had crossed over to your side,

smoke-screened
smoke-eyed
holding, in my hands, ash that was always becoming
more ash

- you had booked the tickets through Reykjavík -

the city where light changes hands
where any one can buy fireworks on New Year's eve
where the sky is green (Borealis!)
jealous, because the earth
forgets to spin - unseen -
in Reykjavík

because, in Sjon's words, the city like snow buntings
over snow
in a snowy winter
like snow buntings
over a snowy winter
on snow
like snow
over snow buntings
in a snowy winter
like snow

I know that if I had crossed this city once
what would not have been possible
in the world.

Even the ash then
curled in my hands -

when my friend told me 
that - whenever a passenger's name
is called one last time before the airplane doors are shut,
she likes to think they chose love.

Reykjavík, pirate city stolen from ice
- where airplanes first landed during war -
where the Hallgrímskirkja
is piercing ice that is always becoming more ice

where, when the window opened
- will you believe me? -
even the Atlantic was not big enough
then

from Reykjavík,
the Atlantic was a small stream
flowing in my hands
then

the small stream,
- now ice - that could have been
flowing in my hands, but -
when the name was called one last time before the airplane doors, 
like window-panes, their glass all ash,
were shut.


(thanks to Aditi Angiras, Agha Shahid Ali, Momin Khan Momin)

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