By Imtiaz Dharker
Paper that lets the light
is what could alter things.
Paper thinned by age or touching,
the kind you find in well-used books,
the back of the Koran, where a hand
has written in the names and histories,
who was born to whom,
the height and weight, who
died where and how, on which sepia date,
pages smoothed and stroked
transparent with attention.
If buildings were paper, I might
feel their drift, see how easily
they fall away on a sigh,
in the direction of the wind.
Maps too. The sun shines through
their borderlines, the marks
that rivers make, roads,
Fine slips from grocery shops
that say how much was sold
and what was paid by
might fly our lives like paper kites.
An architect could use all this,
place layer over layer, luminous
script over numbers over line,
and never wish to build again with brick
but let the daylight break
through the shapes that pride can make,
find a way to
trace a grand design
with living tissue,
raise a structure
never meant to last,
of paper smoothed and stroked
and thinned to be transparent,
turned into your skin.