Ghazals on the Grundig, Pingling in Pollokshields

The moon of the fourteenth day
or the first light of the sun, I swear
to God, you are beyond compare.
The moon. . . .
Out of its massive grey body,
Grundig TK20 is singing reel to reel,
unspooling love songs in Hindustani,
a voice that is sometimes female,
sometimes male. Lahore arrives via Germany
on Sunday mornings in Pollokshields.
What does it mean?
Time, Ammi translates, and sighs,
Time has played such a joke on us
You are no longer you. I am no longer I.
We learn Hindustani from Grundig,
singing along with the tragic song.
Ammi says we must speak English,
Say it like this, excuse me, thank you,
but when I say the words they come out
Glaswegian. To her it all sounds the same.
She finds new ways to speak the new tongue,
delighted by the birds on television,
waddling to the sea, Pingling! Pingling!
and the chorus girls who come out highkicking
when the sequined curtain goes up,
Nappy! Nappywali!
Sometimes she lapses, negotiates meals
in Urdu, swears by accident in Punjabi,
Ullu di patthi! But if I am the daughter
of an owl who is the owl?
Grundig’s barrel body is rumbling
to release the voice, pitched impossibly high,
juggling the world from spool to spool.
Time has played this joke on us,
says Grundig,
You are no longer you,
I am no longer I.

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