The Journey (1964)

by Abida

The Journey (1964)

 

Fear fogged my mind 

as we leave the ground,

tied up in the belly of 

a roaring, whining metal bird.

Blood rushing in my ears,

my heart beating fast with the roar.

 

A fog, damp and metal-grey.

Tall pale faces walking by like

ghost balloons with pale hands.

Terrified, I clutch the black, soft folds of

Mother\'s burka.

 

Shivering in thin cotton, orange shalwar kameez,

I ask her in Punjabi,

‘Amiji, Victora qui heh?’

This word, repeated,

bounced off the vast ceiling.

Was this loud, tinny noise - God?

Only the racket of trains,

a familiar soundtrack from back home.

 

Not yet four years old,

I hid in Mother\'s folds.

A still black triangle

in an ocean of sound and a crowd of

strangely dressed people.

Waiting for a father I had never known.

 

I must have been bad,

to make the world lose it\'s colour.

Where had the sun gone?

A cacophony of grey sounds,

with strangers who did not smile,

eyes that skimmed over me.

 

Melting, cold pieces 

of soft cotton falling from a slate-grey sky

three months later,

made me laugh with wonder.

 

A year later I found my voice again.

 

Abida

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