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Seeing All

Mehvash Amin


The poem was first published in The Aleph Review, Vol. 1(2017). Click here to order volume one.


I tweet; someone retweets my tweet.

I lock into his life, wrestling with

Pinpricks of information; how he cycles

To work in Delhi, or deals with another

Man telling his friend that her child is

Half-black, and thus, ugly. Gasping, I enter

The angry man’s life, feel his vitriol

crisping the edges of his existence.

Then on to someone else, a young girl

In Idaho, agonizing over a sock to conceal

Her cast. She broke a leg as she

Flipped on a trampoline, the prom is

A few hours away, and no sock matches

The shade of her blue dress.


Then, with Google Earth, I close in

On Pompeii and Herculaneum.

I see the towns, but this device

Does nothing to restore the livid hour

When hot ash nimbly scoured living flesh,

Then encased forever the stricken postures

Of those that could not escape:

Like the woman heavy with child,

Her husband draped about her.

At Herculaneum, the girl with the silver earrings

Is just bones, not far from

Pliny the Third, who stood snug

Inside his carapace of bravado

Till the surge of heat tore it away.


Medusa by AB Rehman

I think of Aldous Huxley’s character

Who wants to write of smoke

Escaping from the chimney at the same

Time that he describes food being

Cooked, birds in the air, guests at the table,

All captured in a single gust of narrative.

He wants to push skeins of thought,

The chemical reactions of meat touching fire,

The mechanics of flight, all, all, like cake mix,

Into his pen’s icing cone, to be squeezed out

Touched with the alchemy

Of absolute knowledge.

Let’s say it then: touched

With the impossible.


I, too, want to feel the lift of the scar on that

Youngster’s leg. I want to hear the timbre

Of the girl who waited for help at the beach

As she cried for the last time.

I want to sing with the spokes of the wheels that take

The cyclist to work on limpid winter mornings.

I almost do, with my smart phone,

Visiting rooms and people, zooming in and out of

Beaches and villas that were once doomed.

But I, and Huxley’s character, will never sit

For years under a tree for that blinding intuition,

That searing knowledge that sees all in

The once and always moment.


That terrifying, molten God’s eye-view.



 

Mehvash Amin is the Publishing Editor at The Aleph Review.



Abdul Rehman is a visual artist and educator currently based in Lahore, Pakistan. Trained in traditional techniques at the Naqsh School of Arts, Lahore, he went on to pursue and complete his BFA in Visual Arts and Design in 2020 at Beaconhouse National University Lahore, where he was awarded a Distinction. His work has been exhibited and published in various exhibitions. Furthermore, his innovative artworks that employ the use of the QR code symbol have also been displayed. AB currently holds a teaching position at the Beaconhouse National University, Lahore. Artwork and artist bio courtesy Pakistan Forum Gallery.

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