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Two Steps Backward For One Step Forward - for Lucknow

On partly cloudy days

This city hangs at the precipice of reality

Crushed under the weight of its reputation.

At 10:30 pm, five dogs wait under the streetlight

For the lovers to come home

Faithful of familiarity that becomes a requiem.

When a bullet pierces through a language

Death becomes historical deceit, like

Fireflies lingering on a minefield. A pretense.

A heart unceremoniously traded for a kill

Is exhibited like public indecencies

Until a night explodes into static.

To pick the summer side of this city

Hidden under mind's fettered daylight fantasies

You have to put your head through the furnace called history.

Some day, the rain will wash clean

The gasoline water of Gomti, and

Dreams will be put on sale in the old markets.

While my mother peels mangoes inside

I look through the slit of my curtain -

Whites and greens pressed against the cobalt road.

I ask: how many more poems will it take to find the right words to call home home?

Nuzhat Khan is currently pursuing her master's in Convergent Journalism from AJK Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia. She is from Lucknow.

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