On a Street of Dhaka | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 04, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, January 04, 2020

Poetry

On a Street of Dhaka

In a tattered sari, she stands

Erect, on the road-divider

Under construction.

Atop her head a basket of bricks,

A crowbar in hand.

 

He’s on the road, his tools at his feet,

Trousers rolled up to his knees, hands

Extended to her neck,

Holding a rainbow of beads.

From an out-of-town dump?

Or, a litterbin?

 

On her lips — a hint of smile,

Sublime delight. His offering

Is priceless gems.

The load on her head, a gold coronal.

The crowbar she holds,

A sceptre studded with pearls.

 

His morning fingers linger

On her neckline, her collarbone

Alive in the sun. Her sweat-dotted face,

A vision. The choker fastened

Around her neck, he holds his breath.

She is a goddess!

 

Cold cars roar beside the divider,

Hurrying couples at red lights

Shift in their seats.

Taxis, rickshaws, lorries, mobile vendors,

passers-by, dust, heat, goats, cows,

Sulphurous fuel — oriental chaos.

Dreams? Or, disillusionments?

 

Dilruba Z. Ara is a Swedish-Bangladeshi writer, novelist, artist, educator and translator.

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