Poetry 2018 Longlist, Rashida Arsiwala

I Sat with Strangers

I sat with strangers,

Stared in their eyes.

Saw their emotions;

That was my prize.


A minute of silence;

Baring their souls.

Without manipulation;

That was the goal.


Many a stranger went;

I was about to call it a day.

Then the crowd parted,

And in walked Ulay.


A man I hadn’t seen

In three decades or more,

Sat in front of me,

My emotions in uproar.


The longest wall in the world

Had seemed even longer,

When we met in the middle,

The parting grief made stronger.


And here he was now,

Thirty long years hence.

Time had replaced the wall

With an invisible fence.


The tears ran,

He took my hand,

But neither said a word.

And then the minute was up

He left; I never saw him again.

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