earlier touching my lips
now floats in the Thames
Does the river know
the feel of such a touch?
Touches are never forgotten.
In the midst of chilly, gusting winds
standing before a poster of Marilyn Monroe
Unbidden I salute her beauty.
Beauty mustn’t die.
Beauty must abide for all time.
I see the young man coming along
Eyes slip away from the poster
to behold beauty in motion.
Time hadn’t propelled me so far forward
I would have kissed you.
I light a cigarette
and drop it in the Thames
so the river might extinguish it.
The last of the cigarette-gone-dead bobs
as though smiling at me saying:
You’re where you’ve always been.
Look! it stands behind you.
By Azra Abbas, from Hairat Ke Us Paar. Translated from the original in Urdu by Muhammad Umar Memon
Source: the annual of Urdu Studies (pdf format).