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I love that you rattle on in Hindi with the Uber driver

A poem inspired by Hanif Abdurraqib’s "When We Were 13, Jeff’s Father Left The Needle Down On A Journey Record Before Leaving The House One Morning And Never Coming Back".

The door slams

No questions asked

आप कैसे हैं?

Aap kaise hain?

I love that you rattle on in Hindi with the Uber driver

Enveloping us in a melody we last heard around old family friends

Abi and I sit in the music of conversation

Witnessing home dance between front seat and back

Tomorrow I will think about what it means

For us to have renounced, too many times to count in this day,

yet another conversation

On cryptocurrencies and Silicon Valley

And to sit here once more as children in the presence of an elder

Who asks after your family, your political views and the stories you tell yourself to get by in San Francisco

How I know this

I still can’t say

Perhaps somewhere in four years of smoking up with the Desis

Confusing Hindi and Urdu

And wandering the streets of Hyderabad

I picked up on the sounds and sighs we translate only by heart

ٹھیک ہے


अच्छा जी

Achchha jee

पत्नी और बच्चे कैसे हैं

Patnee aur bachche’ kaise hain

بیوی اور بچے کیسے ہیں

Biwi aur bachay kese hen


So how comforting it is, now

To share in the silence that resounds with who you are

And maybe this is why

A single conversation with our Uber driver can coax the longing out of each of our bodies

And maybe this is why

We are reminded

Like prodigal sons and daughters who chose to return,

We are finding the part of ourselves that never left


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