Under House Arrest in 1979

by Rizwan Akhtar

In Lahore’s dust-brown evenings
guttural slogans died,
over broken rows of houses

a coal-black sky contrasted
with sepia-tone walls
night was an ember-eye of scarecrow

smell of prison’s bricks
stayed on his bone-white body
lashed on a couch,

corners blinked
without language
and books flowed in tides

a dog-barked interruption
over garden’s hedge
where a squirrel electrocuted

without fuss silence cracked
trackless stars
claddings of darkness

in his last tatters of words
he walked on a lonely roof
shrugged shoulders

sentenced for words
a story
noosed morning tongues.


Poet’s Note on Under House Arrest in 1979

On April 14, 1979 Pakistan’s Prime Minister Z.A. Bhutto was hanged by a military regime.


Editor’s Note on Under House Arrest in 1979:

Under House Arrest in 1979 is not Rizwan Akhtar’s first work to appear in Eastlit. His previous published pieces are:

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