Small Surprises in a
Largely Dull World

by Saadia Peerzada

February 5th, 2022

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 Illustration by Joseph P. Sgambati III

In the repetition of the daily,

buried feelings jump out of walls and carpets

like dust mites,

smaller things surprise me,

 

Like the gentleness of Punjabi 1

in carrying grief

and our capacity for forgiveness:

phir vi teri khairan mangan/ sach kehni aan yaaran 2

(still, I’ll ask for your goodness, I promise my love)

 

How love is stored in the

doodles on your sister’s hands,

in languages far out of reach,

carrying all the hopes

we invest in the other side,

how spring is oppressive

in all the ways winter fails to be,

it is the hope to be dug deeper into the ground

like a seed comfortable in sleep.

 

As the daily repeats itself,

smaller things surprise me,

like knowing the grief

of not grieving

and preserving the body

at the heart of that immensity,

 

how the sun never rose after the day you turned eleven

that so many books and so many poems

never filled the void at the centre of your being,

 

How you lay down

and your centre of gravity

becomes an epicentre of disaster.

 

Now smaller things surprise me,

like how disposable this fever dream is

where we think we live forever,

 

where we get to live forever

and love doesn’t.

An Indo-Aryan

language spoken by

the people of Punjab

in India and Pakistan.

A lyric from Jasleen Royal’s song Nit Nit

Note from the Editor

Aastha D

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