Vol. 5 Num 849 Sat. October 14, 2006  


Paro's shoulders look so
frail under the bejeweled blouse
the heavy achal of her sari undulates
lengthens behind her
as she runs through the house
doors of iron and stained glass
flying open and shut
everything trembling
with her loss

I sigh
I can't feel it
her emotion is less striking to me
than her sumptuous outfit
the bollyfied film set

Rumana is sitting on the floor
watching, rapt
she gets up now
as I ask her to help me
pour water into the glasses

the water spills ever so slightly
pooling on the wood table
I glance at her face, surprised
only to see what I should have seen before
the maid's tears are blinding her
she can't see the glass or the water
she's crying for Paro
she's crying for love

I look back at the TV
to see what I'm missing
Paro's grief beckons
for a moment
but my eyes soon slip
to her throat, glittering with gems

apparently it's my Bengali heart
that was missing all along

Abeer Hoque won the Tanenbaum award in 2005 for nonfiction.