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Volume 14

Home Is Not A Place - Spring 2015


Waqas Naeem

Written by
Waqas Naeem

Waqas Naeem is a freelance journalist and journalism instructor based in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, Pakistan. He is also the Director of Desi Writers' Lounge (DWL).


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Our Dreams of Colour


Every night, you and I walk to the edge of the sea by your pillow.
Our dreams are salty and, just before dawn,
you carelessly spread them on the bedside table
beside the lamp with the aquamarine shade

“It will be our window to the ocean,” you had said
not long ago,
hopeful, water-starved eyes,
caramel fingers pointing at the lampshade.

The Korean lady
at the cash register of the pawn shop had smiled too,
I remember,
with a shrug of tragedy
as if she knew
there was no happiness in imagining views of water
on windowless walls.

As if she realised,
we knew too much of suffering
from our duty to inform.

We, who jotted down pain
objectively in notebooks,
dared to decide
we are humans first.

Hurting, we dreamt with open eyes,
dreams of peaceful shores,
new colours unlike those of our skins, or

unlike that of the kid
outside the pawn shop
whose brain lay splattered,
colourful, as if at peace
with our constructs of division;
as if, race-less.

you cover the lampshade every night
with a linen cloth.
“The light hurts my eyes,” you say
but you never switch it off.

I don’t understand,
just follow you to the edge of the sea each night,
where we set our optimism on fire,
use borrowed matchsticks.
A procession of sorrows is liberated,
floats to a distance, looks back, smiles a soot-coloured smile.

Next morning, as the pain returns,
I look for the dreams on the bedside table
but find only salt.

In the briny haze, I hear you mumbling in your sleep,
“I wish I was born



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