Growing up in England and feeling half-Pakistani, I felt a bit on the edge of things. Sometimes that can be a good place to be, a vantage point.
I Would Like to be a Dot in a Painting by Miró
Barely distinguishable from other dots,
it’s true, but quite uniquely placed.
And from my dark centre
I’d survey the beauty of the linescape
and wonder – would it be worthwhile
to roll myself towards the lemon stripe,
Centrally poised, and push my curves
against its edge, to get myself
a little extra attention?
But it’s fine where I am.
I’ll never make out what’s going on
around me, and that’s the joy of it.
The fact that I’m not a perfect circle
makes me more interesting in this world.
People will stare forever
– Even the most unemotional get excited.
So here I am, on the edge of animation,
a dream, a dance, a fantastic construction,
A child’s adventure.
And nothing in this tawny sky
can get too close, or move too far away.
from Split Word: Poems 1990-2005 (Bloodaxe, 2008), Moniza Alvi 2008, used by permission of the author and the publisher