Ancient Remnants

A shattered stone statue
Some old copper coins
Strange ornaments of blackened silver
Several broken bronze vessels
Were unearthed
In a desert
And people say that centuries ago
Here where there is only a desert
A city was once settled
And a thought strikes me:
Even today, at a party
A gathering
When I come face to face with you
For one second
Just for one moment
The warmth of your body
The fleeting chance of meeting our eyes
The shine of your red bindiya
The rustle of your clothes
The fragrance of your hair
And sometimes, unintentionally
A tiny flower of touch
And then again, that unending desert
That desert where once
A city had flourished.

–Javed Akhtar

(From Anthems of Resistance: A Celebration of Progressive Urdu Poetry, by Ali Husain Mir & Raza Mir. IndiaInk, 2006.)