Imtiaz Dharker

Image by Ayesha Dharker Taylor

The temporary face

The temporary face

I draw your face on the huge sand
in the early morning, when small crabs
run and hide in the holes
I have provided for your eyes.

I go away. Through the day
people come and go, knowing nothing
but themselves, the sun on shoulders,
salt, fish, net. They scuff

your outlines, walk across your mouth,
they put down footprints in your eyes.
This makes you real, peels back
your absence, lets your image heal

like a temporary skin. I learn to
love the thing that has to be erased,
the thing I may not be allowed to keep,
sand that runs away beneath my running feet.

from Leaving Fingerprints (Bloodaxe, 2009), © Imtiaz Dharker 2009, used by permission of the author and the publisher.


Imtiaz Dharker

Imtiaz Dharker reading from her poems

1Speech Balloon


3The Haunted House

4The Child Sings

5Postcards from god I

6Postcards from god II


8Question 1 / Question 2


10Living Space / One Breath


12This room

13Honour killing

14The right word

15Kinna sona

16A place called Battle

17How to cut a pomegranate

18Women bathing



21Leaving fingerprints


23Hand of Fatima, Hand of Miriam


25Whoever you are

26Talisman / CCTV

27The temporary face

28Dabba's dialogue <i>or</i> Tiffin-box talks

29What she said / what she said later

30What the palm reader said then

31What they think she said

32They'll say, 'She must be from another country.'

Books by Imtiaz Dharker