Cartographies of Longing and Belonging


The sidewalks are the same,

Though the green has faded

Giving way to a browned winter, scrubbed clean.

Nestled in the  pallid wintery boughs lies the moon,

‘Tis trapped in a triangular web. The liquidy

Moonlight’s reflection, melts into amber pools,

That mellows the night’s edges. The city’s  a canvas

Etched on our pyches. Magically does each day

Blend into the dark recesses of night, as if I were

Cross hatching spaces most occupied,

Like Dürer, Rembrandt or Rubins? Caged thoughts

Lie like sediments in crystalline wine.

Until the  nightly mesh opens, unleashing my guarded thoughts.

Nothing’s in the vicinity except the starry sky.

Until a  footfall awakens me, taking me to

Another day’s memory, embedded in the crunch,

Of gravel under your shoe,

A desire, slumbering till now, is stirred.



How delightful your tangy caramelized lips are!

Wistfully, I grope in the dark

to reach out to you.

I dare say, we’re not very far away

You are not in  Berlin or Kashmir,

And neither am I in Kanchi or Tórshavn

We’re tucked in different pockets of one city today.

We’ve shared  the dewy fragrances of dawn;

The aromas of burnt roads breathing at midnight;

The cantankerous city’s sounds:  pausing, and moaning

As the cityscape stretches alluringly on the dot of dawn,

But each image fades without you.



Your love, an aubade,   rapturously arrests my thoughts.

In our meetings, we lose ourselves, knowing not

The exactitude, in  what degrees the earth circles the sun,

Till the first ray of dawn. We notice, nothing,

Not even the moon’s changing shapes.

Or, the thrashing tides that rock coasts to sleep.

In ecstasy we dance to the rhapsody of celestial bodies,

It seems many years are gone. How can we,

Two lovers lost in each other,

Think of cartographies?



Our longings churn time and distance.

All comes to a standstill, in your embrace.

My eyes meander over your

Serpentine curves, I’m lost before lush Amazon.

It seems momentary. The next moment, I marvel

At your pinky finger touching Van Deimen’s land,

After crossing longitudes of longing

Or Earth’s dividing line…

When you crook your fingers, to clasp the glazed Ceramic mug

In the cosiness of either home, before piling the blanket

In abandonment.  Your feet touch the icy, white

Tiles, I feel the joy of streaming ray’s of the sun

That light up the midnight Alaskan land.

But, each forthcoming day I’m envious of

The sunlight that steals you away. And then,

You fade becoming a mere dot in the city grey.



Then, oh then, my foolish mind is racked by thoughts:

The  pandemic flits, hovers and dives,

To seperate us, the pandemic pleads,

“Distance matters in these times.”

My mind is a nebulae of thoughts,

Of conversations veering around parting and loss.

The world’s in a limbo like the winter moon.

That stills life, and distances loving hearts!



And yet I’d say, do not delve on distances, after each tiring day

Remember, I’m just a few streets away

Walk through a sea of concrete blocks

A boulevard of winter struck  trees.

A pallid winter’s eve, with the moon

Hanging betwixt bare branches

Struggling to touch shorn boughs parted wide.

It gnaws at my longing deep.

Hastily I remind myself, they’ re not parted for eternity.

Remember, this limbo’s but a passing phase.

Just another long grey ribbon of road that divides,

Two hearts, or cities

That beat to the politics of Cartography.

© Mumtaz NK


Picture courtesy: Unsplash

This piece is a monologue, with the winter as its backdrop to depict the starkness of cravings that gnaw at parted lovers’ hearts. A lover describes  his universe, rather, a deep sense of being whole when he is with his beloved. In her presence he finds an abilty to travel across imagined zones.

In her presence he delightfully traverses ” imaginary realms, invented cities, countries , continents, entire stellar systems…” ( Cartographies of Fictional Worlds)which he  mightn’t have visited in reality.

His ideas pertain to distances created physically, mentally and emotionally, a void that most of us have experienced because the pandemic has disrupt ed lives.


What do you think?


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  1. I would really appreciate your comments, and yes there’s something I’ve forgotten to mention. I love Dickinson as a poet: there’s a particular phrase that Ibe borrowed from her piece- If You Were Coming in The Fall.

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Written by Mumtaz N K

Trainer, reader, littérateur  & wayfarer...many selves wrapped in one physicality

Sprucing up  my the writer in me...

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