'This City Is Waiting For You': A Poem by Neha Maqsood



THIS CITY IS WAITING FOR YOU


karachi

non-linear, broken, dawdling,

just like its pavements lined with thelas

selling fruits, artificial toys, cheetah print

scarfs 'made in China' to predictions

at one’s next chance at love.


karachi is marked with starts and stops. with dead-

ends, circuitous roads and silent words not meant for

ones ears. karachi may be endings and goodbyes but

she is certainty;

she is certainty when you are,

unhinged,

frightened,

unsure.


karachi knows pain too – it is her anger which sets the sun,

exhausted from the rickshaws, buses running along its veins,

profanities of its inhabitants within her cells, pure overbearing

momentum.


fumbling, unstable and unquestionably difficult

she quiets the world down

because she knows pain too. misery loves company


she spends a lot of time waiting – will I return? will the

inevitable happen? will the purple scars heal?


i tread

her marbled floors lined with dust and gravel, she senses

i’m back but not truly. not fully

we sought

the pain and

now –

we recover

together but from

afar.





Neha Maqsood (she/her) is a 20-year-old, born-and-bred Pakistani currently pursuing a dual degree in Medicine and Global Health at Imperial College London and Bristol University. Alongside her academics, she is a part-time actress and radio show host; she starred in the 2018 film "Sisters in Arms," which is currently being shown at film festivals around the world, and hosted the award-winning radio show, "Will I ever be a Doctor?" under the Burst Radio Station. Most recently, she was listed as one of the 100 Most Influential BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) people in Bristol by Bristol 24/7 and Bristol Cable for her work in empowering ethnic minorities through leading a Women's March in Bristol and kick-starting a radio show calling out microaggressions against POCs on campus. Currently, she writes for multiple publications, including Epigram and That's What She Said, about race, breaking through the Pakistani patriarchy and brown-feminism.

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