North of Longing, South of Hope


every night
you turn on the lights
in the room he has left behind
on another continent
he buys a pack of almonds for memory
they sit unopened by his bedside
and back home
you are sifting through his clothes
not wanting to give them away
the city grows to a handful of pearls
the plane hurtling to lift
as if heaving with regret
he closes the window to homeland
and searches for you among the passengers
an audience with its face turned away from him
in the bathroom mirror
you inspect twenty-year old scars
the pocket you sewed into his shirt
to hold his passport safe
is a sutured wound he now wears
on all his travels
from you,
he has learned
the value of injury
cornered by grief
he plays and replays your voice messages
with the discipline of prayer
he folds your syllables into notes
your soft vowels into song
while you unseeingly switch the radio
back to his favorite channel
his words forming the ghazal you nod to quietly
now that we are apart
let us pick some place in between
north of longing and south of hope
where we may meet every summer
to hear the crack of dawn
to let our hair turn silver
where I will not guilt you
for wanting me back
in the wrinkle of your womb
where you will love me
but just enough
to let me go

Syed Jarri Haider

Syed Jarri Haider is a young Pakistani poet who first entered into English poetry with a course on form, themes and images held by Desi Writers’ Lounge. Presently enrolled in the law program at UNSW Australia, he is trying to figure out Sydney’s transport system, and his new life as a potential migrant.