Not the Thousand and One Nights
Not the thousand and one nightsbut the thousand and one fears,
each one as full as a night.
Fear stuck to the travelers,and the travelers stuck to each other.
A single entity, a country in embryohurtling down the road,
its destination—morning [End Page 38]
The line between birth and non-being.
The line between what happenedand the imagining.
A line so delicate a sparrow might havepicked it up in its beak.
A line of writing.
A line so definite—and so blurred.
Time to return the unending storyto itself.
Time to return everyoneto themselves.
Time to cross swiftly back
over the line. [End Page 39]
Moniza Alvi was born in Pakistan and grew up in England. Her new poetry collection is At the Time of Partition (Bloodaxe).