Sahar Rizvi – SHAHTOOS
I watch the distribution of
biscuits and tea,
which I pass over.
As the shawl merchants arrived,
wheeling fat nomadic suitcases behind
that – having took the scenic route,
dodged artillery fire –
rolled all the way from
Ladahk’s bumpy highlands.
……….Quietly, amongst the village,
……….hungry apprentices expeditiously weave
……….three yards of fine Chiru fur,
……….in time to catch the winter chill.
“These poor shawl makers live by what you give us”,
with greatest sincerity,
flat palm over his heart,
he begs without mercy.
The shawl is drawn through a ring,
stolen from the skeletal finger of a princely corpse,
along with its Jamawar shroud.
Which we are seated before.
……….The weavers are now weeping
……….and burying the bodies of their martyred sons,
……….who bled a river of dye for silk string,
……….loomed into the most opulent Shatoos.
Rich women exhibit their opulence
in these adornments.
But shawls tell other tales,
of Kashmir and its despair.
“…And for you sister,
which one do you prefer?”,
he says intruding.
“I do not indulge”, I respond laconically.
But if I did,
I’d drape my body with the slaughter
of all; Chiru, weaver and son.
Sahar Rizvi was born in Karachi, Pakistan, raised in the Middle East, England, and finally laid her hat in Toronto, Canada. Her writing is inspired by the collective human condition and its mystical ability to speak to humankind, without distinction. Sahar works as a Freelance Editor and Non-Profit Consultant, in academic and social justice capacities. Her poems have appeared in publications such as Voices and Visions: Young Writers from Pakistan, The South Asian Review and Desilit Magazine. She received an MA in Humanities, and BA in Sociology and Creative Writing, both from York University in Toronto.
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