Places | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 24, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, June 24, 2017



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,

I wonder

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.

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