My Cartographer by Awrup Sanyal for Alalodulal
This city now wears a different look, walks a different gait, hides and reveals differently, calls out from nooks I never knew existed.
Streets with unknown names have now stepped out of their anonymity, their hundred years of sleep, shaken my hand and wrapped around my ankles, calling out in low whistles and whispers, my, your, our secrets.
I won’t ever walk again without attachment, without the torment of decomposed detritus, flotsam, jetsam, rubble, and remains.
I am now shackled to its gritty pebbles, sludgy drains, broken asphalt, stuporous staircases, unknown rooms, faceless elevators, cracked coffee mugs, bent spoons, paan stains, cavernous alleys, poetic balconies, desolate parks, huddled whispers, silent celebrations, mingled breaths, spicy piquant sweat…
Hail! My Cartographer! And your midnight conspiracies that hatch a million plots of conquests and defeats.
I will take them all— a white horse, a tattered rug, a mossy branch, a whiff of your scent, a flash of your teeth, a solemn lovelorn hymn…
Like this city and its missing pages, one day remember to scatter me over its terra, just like Asaad’s shirt or the splatter of an unknown soldier’s blood.
I will, I promise, die with my tongue stuck in your love.
When such falls, much rises. New lands, new bridges, new borders, and new loves.