after the bombing

On Easter Sunday, 26th March, 2016, a powerful bomb explosion rocked the populated Gulshan-e-Iqbal park in Lahore, claiming dozens of lives.


—with lines from Tomas Transtromer


I drive through the city, daily      
hung in smog. off pavements, men broom dust  
like ghosts pluming through the morning light.  
around me, the whole strength of the street swarms,  
wants power that remembers nothing,    
nothing. already I want to spurn each muck road
bodies jostled in each turning rickshaw    
heads in each dim bus lined in a planetary light— ​I pass open fields
​I pass crowds, packed tight I do not move​
  I pass a man hunkered​​over a cow that hit his car
angered, he whets a blade, jerks her bulk down  
tips the blade over her glinting eye’s black orb.  
I close my eyes my mouth locks like a double barrel
the seconds tick at my teeth I see his neck buckled in my arm
  I see this instant,  always here, a fist in my ribs


Hera Naguib lives and teaches in Lahore, Pakistan. Her poems have appeared in online or print journals, such as, World Literature Today, Prairie Schooner, Spillway, Beloit Poetry Journal, among others. She is also the lead poetry editor of the literary magazine, Papercuts by Desi Writers Lounge, a cultural not-for-profit organization committed to nurturing literary arts from South Asia.