The intimate impersonality of my hotel room
Spurs my memory—
Hairbrushes, creams, lotions and books
Spread out in a place
Where tomorrow a stranger will sleep;
Will my imprint still linger in ghost-like reality
Within the four walls of this rented room?
As I ponder, there
Flares a fluid flame-like dance of images
Flickering flashbacks across time and space.
As neurons scramble to reassemble
Other rooms and houses and gardens
Now long gone to make room
For sterile skyscrapers blotting out the light,
Does a young girl
Somewhere in a long forgotten over-grown garden,
Still smile with innocent rapture,
Her face turned upwards to drink in
The soul haunting beauty of sun drenched flowers?
Does a young woman somewhere still soar in ecstasy
At blue sky and green grass days
When love seemed eternal?
Does a young wife somewhere still plod
Across snow covered pavements in cheap ill fitting boots
Struggling to make sense of infidelity and motherhood and poverty?
Does a separated single woman somewhere still
Weep blood red ruby tears
Staring into the eyes of a confused child
Unable to understand
Why things fall apart?
Suspended in a strange limbo
Between past, present and future
A mature woman
Gazes with bittersweet detachment
At the scrolling tapestries of memory,
And carefully folds them in cedar-scented
Chests as trousseau for the girl
Born from the flesh of her flesh,
Before starting to contemplate
In some trepidation and a dawning wonder
What rooms she will inhabit,
In what worlds she will wander
In the last and final silent sleep.
Batool Sarwar is Associate Professor,
Department of English, University of Dhaka.