I learned to rise from Pekhawri dawns.

Eyes that shot open with a faint athaan.

The sparkling mist that hung in the air,

the dew that tickled flowers and weeds alike.

The sky, with its pink hues that mimicked laughter-bitten cheeks,

the rays of sun, as they sprawled into the room through the space between the curtains,

unfurling across decades of wear,

bluntly shedding light on unspoken truths and

lies that have been screamed over and over again.

I learned to stand from the Hindu Kush mountains.

Have you ever seen anything stand so proudly?

Grey stone and muddy earth, dipping and rising,

mixing and riding along craters and peaks.

Ancient tales ingrained into every pebble,

furrows in the earth telling time like wrinkles on red-brown skin.

Snow-capped peaks meet the sun at its zenith and its passings,

and they fill the sky, majestically, stunningly, unrelentingly, as if to state that

the earth alone is not territory enough for them.

I learned to yearn from the wind.

I travel constantly without knowing my direction.

I love constantly without remembering faces or voices.

I yearn constantly without being satiated.

I am, I rise, I stand, yet I long, and I long,

and this longing ruins me as I wither away waiting for reunion.

-AN

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