Lines from Fuller Road
This dawn is unvarying, lovely, peaceful, dewy,
Morning sky has opened its store of breathing clouds,
Street lights had fought with the golden aggression
Of half opened casket of sun's burning glimmers;
The streets seemed unusually dry and desolate!
The call for morning prayers is soft, sonorous.
Looking up at the heavens one searches for signs
Of divine grace and love for the ecosphere below.
Cease fire, smaller number of people dying of covid;
Lovely women sleep peacefully as men look on;
Closed eyes, toothless gums giggle even when dreaming;
Far away, the boatman sings of Acheron's divine flow
I, Tiresias, on my Fuller Road balcony in this unreal city,
Amidst all my muddled thoughts of ternary spheres,
Look through a chink between high-rises that lean on,
Trying to bargain solace among unbrushed May flowers.
The sky looked appalled as the sun's rays fell on a beggar
Holding a pack of masks for cars with locked windows,
The slush of the roadside canal smelled of rotten mice,
Evening prayer was nigh as the muezzin hurriedly passed,
I, Tiresias, felt tired as my eyes looked at the burnt horizon,
Wondering at the enormous energy vibrating down the road
Muscles, ribs, hands, tongues, lips, voices, marching feet -
All seemed distant and foreign to my depleted vision
Past office hours, robust traffic horns don't sound now.
I searched for that dog-eared familiar landscape
Painted by the city lords of expanding imagination;
Came nothing except murmuring Shishu and Pipul leaves
Vibrating in the kite-flying summer sky silhouette.
Doors are ajar; the wind refused to cross the threshold;
How could I leave my balcony, O woman of my life,
Until I see you return in that crisscrossed red silk scarf?
Sabiha Huq teaches English at Khulna University. These lines were inspired by photos shot by Fakrul Alam, which are published with the photographer's permission.