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The Streets of Memory

By Tabish Khair

The street of memory is bent and blind
To all except what’s seen in angled light
Falling from solid homes along it lined:
What is respectable and what is right.
So that when chance ushers in those we fail
To see in broad daylight — maybe a knock
In dead of night or forwarded e-mail
About some subtle law that maims and mocks.
We fail again to plumb the depths of loss
And pain. We slam our doors (and airports) shut,
We swap the channel, we call it gross —
Which might be true (for blood’s vulgar) … but
There’s hope sometimes in the twist of the knife,
To tell of death is to remember life.

Painting: Cafe Tatva

Bio:
Tabish Khair is the author of various books, including the poetry collections, Where Parallel Lines Meet (Penguin, 2000) and Man of Glass (HarperCollins, 2010), the studies, Babu Fictions: Alienation in Indian English Novels (Oxford UP, 2001), The Gothic, Postcolonialism and Otherness (Palgrave, 2010), The New Xenophobia (OUP, 2016) and the novels, The Bus Stopped (Picador, 2004), Filming (Picador, 2007), The Thing About Thugs (Harpercollins, 2010; Houghton Mifflin, 2012), How to Fight Islamist Terror from the Missionary Position (Interlink and Corsair 2014), Just Another Jihadi Jane (Periscope and Interlink, 2016/17), which was published as Jihadi Jane in India (Penguin, 2016), and Night of Happiness (Picador, 2018). Other Routes, an anthology of pre-modern travel texts by Africans and Asians, co-edited and introduced by Khair (with a foreword by Amitav Ghosh) was published by Signal Books and Indiana University Press in 2005 and 2006 respectively. He has also edited or co-edited other scholarly works.

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For more stories, read Café Dissensus Everyday, the blog of Café Dissensus Magazine.

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