To Riad – My Palestinian Student

I received you at the door

All smiles

Across the marble of the table

We sipped green tea

We spoke of metaphysics

And discussed the cosmos

How unlike us!

The buzz of traffic on Shahrah-e-Faisal

Echoed in the twilight

A streak of crimson cut across the sky

I felt a gnawing in my stomach

And I saw embarrassment in your eyes

And I knew and you knew

And there was a long silence

Tomorrow was another working day

(Written a day after the Shatila massacre in 1982)

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