SA (January19,1981 / Bangladesh)

Bottles Of Anxiety

Genies in Arabian Nights serve our curiosities,
and the monsters we read about in school-
books of fairytales, too. But we aren't kids

to who grown-ups still will be kidding, not
even the ones we were, always scared of ghouls,
yet eager to listen to them from Grannies -

sweethearts sweeter than mums. This world
replaces them well in our hearts - corked
bottles not of Scotch but of anxieties.

If uncorked for a moment, they do things
more dangerous than bloodletting. Now
in charge of the world's store of tricks, follies

and what it stands for, we end up adding
something to it. The chat, for instance, you do
with your ex-lover in the name of friendship;

it sets my heart cataloguing fears on a page.
Lies in love often turn out to be Cyclops
cooking dishes of us for dinner. But remember

we embraced our Grannies tight on scary nights,
in afternoons went for beetles, dragonflies,
and their memories made us forget mums'

rebukes for not being attentive to our studies.
Now the grown-ups we are - forced to think
of dashes, commas, colons, stops and other signs

as pauses more than necessary in our love;
of our breathing as what gets shorter each time
we make bouquets of lies, yawning. There are

fireflies we can still dream of, and let's not
uncork all the bottles we have of insecurities
and let's cuddle, skin to skin, till breathes end.


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