You were born of the deserts
with dates between your lips
and desert dune air brushing your lashes.

You watch the sun dip behind the minarets and domes
and let the azaan awash your skin with the pricks of divinity
when the pigeons fluttered in a rush with the haunting call
of the day’s end.

You see the end of a symphony from the
flat roof.

The butcher pulls down the store window
And your neighbour’s forgotten laundry flutters,
the sun slipping away from its embrace of the clay walls.
And the fruit seller wheels back home.
The boys and girls in creased uniforms skip home.

Closing windows and doors, and skies
shifting, as if the night sky had turned from its
slumber, taking over the watch from the sun.
Awake and crisp the night will shine soon.

The minarets are pillars upholding the sky.
His voice has reached out and touched the stars.
This moment is a welcoming and a good-bye,
a closing in and an opening out.

Tonight, you will traverse the cosmos from behind your eyes.


The word ‘maghrib’ has multiple meanings. It means west. It means sunset. It is also the fourth prayer of the day that Muslims perform at sunset. This particular poem was composed during maghrib time in Karachi.