SA (January19,1981 / Bangladesh)

Alphabet Of Compromise


I'm afraid fears often creep into you like splinters
as you hear him once again - drunk, bumping
into the door. He slaps you hard, kicks the hell

outta you in the corner, drags you to bulldoze
you flattened on the bed. Sometimes, it leads to
a temporary falling out; amid the pungent smells

of garlic, chilies and corianders in the kitchen,
you remember how rough he ploughed you like
a tiller in the tropics, and the dreams you had

never shot nor bloomed out of your womb.


Often in the kitchen, a bit sullied by gas-smudge,
yes, you rehearse the letters you have learnt
of the alphabet of compromise. Your hubby

snores in the bedroom you shared with him
for years; and your womb, the desolate Sahara,
never did bring anything up to amuse your in-laws

and the sisters you have, breeders par excellence,
and to force noises out of the egg-shells of silence
you have learnt to grow up with. Your parents

told you a million times: Silence is what you had
better think of as a letter in that alphabet; each letter's
a norm, and it demands you conform to all of it.

I know you let him stalk the dreams you had
in your teen, and almost never remember them.
Sometimes, a moment or two comes to pull

you there - to be bleached by what you take as it is.
Then nothing out of the ordinary ever happens
except one teardropp or two down your cheek.


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