Tauseef Akhtar’s Harmonium

Often it disappears – from hotels,

harbours, airport carousels…

but always it comes back to him.


Trusting in the umbilical dance

of instrument and player

he stays calm in its absence.


Amongst the cosmic flotsam

orbiting Earth this minute

There! Tauseef’s harmonium.


On the sea bed, flexing its gills

for ghazal-hungry shoals

Listen! Tauseef’s harmonium…


sometimes for years until,

missing his voice on the air,

it plunges through the atmosphere


or, surfacing back to the light,

steals in on the tide’s concertina

to appear at Tauseef’s paddling feet –


a child’s shadow through frosted glass

after all hope has been lost.