In a tattered sari, she stands
Erect, on the road-divider
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.