by Shamsur Rahman Faruqi

The wind of heaven
breezed into my house
without fear. I asked her,
When will you turn into
a whirling flame?
We have to burn my
heart-and-soul rubbish
to ashes.
I can't stop shivering
the walls tremble
It's so cold
it freezes the blood
in my hair-roots
The rafters shrivel
like junkies' eyes.
Look--that miserable cat
hiding in the corner
the brown dirty clouds
of her staring eyes
can't rain roses, poppies, sparks.
A black cat wandering
hiding in a dark house.
Aren't you ever going to turn into
a whirling flame?

The wind of heaven answered,
In the thread of my breath
lurks a brutal redness
like blood held in a delicate vein.
If you grab me tight
and squeeze me
you'll see the sparks dripping.
Take a fistful of me
put me in your mouth
swallow me and see.
I'm a golden arrow,
I pierce the throat and turn into
flame. You
don't know how to burn.

[;xaam soziim-o-naarasiidah tamaam]
translated by Frances W. Pritchett

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