- The Missing
In the urinals and other frequented places of this cityOne still comes across posters of the missing peopleWho had left home quietly many years agoAt the age of ten or twelveThey are shown possessing an average heightComplexion wheatish or dark but never fairThey wear rubber slippersA scar on the face from some old injuryTheir mothers still cry for themFinally it is mentioned that anybodyProviding any news about the missingWill be suitably rewarded
Yet no one can identify themThey do not resemble the faded imagesOn those posters anymoreTheir initial sadness is now overwrittenWith the endurance of sufferingTheir faces reflect the changing seasons of the cityThey eat little sleep little speak littleTheir addresses keep changingFacing the good and the bad days with equanimityThey are in their own worldLooking with faint curiosityAt the posters recording them as missingWhich their parents still issue from time to timeIn which they continue to beTen and twelve. [End Page 31]
Mangalesh Dabral is a poet, translator, and essayist born in India's Tehri Garhwal district. His five books of poetry include Pahar Par Laltein, Ghar Ka Rasta, Hum Jo Dekhate Hain, and Naye Yug Mein Shatru. He has translated into Hindi the works of Pablo Neruda, Bertolt Brecht, Yannis Ritsos, and others. A translation of his work in English, This Number Does Not Exist, was published in 2016. He has received Shamsher Sammaan, Pahal Sammaan, and Sahitya Akademi awards.
Asad Zaidi is a Hindi poet born in Karauli, Rajasthan, and now living in Delhi. His three books of poems are Behnen aur anya kavitaen, Kavita ka jivan, and Saman ki talash. His edited collections include Das Baras: Hindi kavita Ayodhya ke bad, Hindi poetry about the destruction of the Barbari Mosque in Ayodhya in 1992. Among his honors is the Sanskriti Award for his contribution to Hindi literature.