A Bowl of Warm Air

Someone is falling towards you
as an apple falls from a branch,
moving slowly, imperceptibly as if
into a new political epoch,
or excitedly like a dog towards a bone.
He is holding in both hands
everything he knows he has—
a bowl of warm air.

He has sighted you from afar
as if you were a dramatic crooked tree
on the horizon and he has seen you close up
like the underside of a mushroom.
but he cannot open you like a newspaper
or put you down like a newspaper.

And you are satisfied that he is veering towards you
and that he is adjusting his speed
and that the sun and the wind and rain are in front of him
and the sun and the wind and rain are behind him.

–Moniza Alvi

Moniza Alvi was born in Lahore, Pakistan but moved to England when she was a small child. In 2002 she received a Cholmondeley Award for her poetry. This is another poet I found during my visit to England last month.

What a lush image: “He is holding in both hands/everything he knows he has—/a bowl of warm air”….

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