by Shamsur Rahman Faruqi

*handwritten Urdu text by the author, early 1980's*

Footprint, dim gleam,
        let me look and rest my eyes there.
If I wring the leaf of a laugh
        I moisten my heart.

Red, welling blood looks good to everyone--
But how can I look, when the knife is in my heart?

My breast in four pieces,
        moon-flame in a corner,
A dream of the false dawn--
        who should I tell it to?

If you touch
        the signs of treasure will well up:
My breast is flower-like
        with a hundred eyelashes' blood.

Pick me, or let me wither on the branch.
I'm the perfume that dies out if not sensed.

[naqsh-e paa dhundlii chamak dekh luu;N aa;Nkhe;N rakh duu;N]
translated by Frances W. Pritchett

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