Two Sunsets on a Sunday

“All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was”-Toni Morrison Lahore Montreal لاہور مونٹریال Lahore Montréal After an hour of rain, The smoothly broken waters the pink sunset slants through the trees of the St. Lawrence flow away onto the canal- like childhood- shirtless boys backflip into the pink sheen leaving behind which keeps recreating its splendor like childhood. constant re-enactments of an image. Birdsong flies from the darkening trees The seagulls gliding around old port that lean over the water from either side. mourn a lost traveler- each strained note For the first time in a month, an interpretation the canal is brimming full- of the red clouds scarring the sky. full with a childhood I can cry out under the evening sky. Along the Lachine Canal, the final gulps of beer and In the park the last bites of bagels transpire. successive shots on a cricket ball Bicycles race along either side- are growing further and further apart- breaking clouds of marijuana smoke. sweating players pack their kitbags when the azaan is proclaimed- Small crowds lug bags of vegetables children grudgingly slide down a final time fresh off Marché Atwater. and spin in a merry-go-round They gaze into the distance before ending the circle game. at St. Joseph’s Oratory- its cross standing over Fifty market shops light up glimmering symmetries of lights and the smell of jalebees and samosas that melt on the surface of the canal. spreads in the neighborhood. In the clock towering over the market, Having shed its daytime radiance, it’s always either too early or too late. the Badshahi Masjid rests content- Who knows where the deep blue light embracing its vastness with ease. they are supposed to be right now? Every note a bird sings could have been a different one- could have pulled your heart in a different direction in the sky- for every chant in one language is followed by the same agony in another one: Time, le temps, waqt. Bird, l’oiseau, parindah. Song, la chanson, naghmah.

Ahmad Aamir Malik is an aspiring Pakistani poet. He will start his master’s in history at McGill University in fall 2023. He believes in the power of poetry to both enhance the experience of a sunset as well as charge politically. He enjoys listening to Joni Mitchell and Simon and Garfunkel songs while walking through parks. He won the World Historian Student Essay Contest (2018) and the California Quarterly Monthly Contest for August 2021. His poems have been published in Cambridge’s Notes magazine, The Punch Magazine, Montreal Writes, California Quarterly, McGill’s The Empathy Journal, and Pulse: McGill’s Urban Studies Journal.

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