I pine curves, guavas, sofedas, a wave arching
back falling flat on its face. I want to convince
you that the jackfruit in its afternoon spikes is
an inaudible layer, inedible like the past;
the tongue may crave its dorsal surface to levitate,
the lateral border to swell, but even if the tip
opens to the dollop of ripe, the lingual tonsil shall
rise up, rebel, repel the past. A light is trying to creak
through the floorboards, its somnambulant
gait is feral as the hills, sand dunes, days out
to Savar at the Martyr's Memorial under a katha*,
my father winding our faces, shapes, concrete
and miles far and near - not even the eyes could
see how the fingers folded spindles of flies
groaning inside the unbroken peel cage of Langra
aam*, my mother's expert fingers hesitant to scrape
off the whole afternoon. I observe catharsis
to heal the unhealable, let cellulose acetate puncture
chemical dips. Once my father walked a whole year
along a sea path filled in the Beirut dust, his feet
flattening the desert and its stylites, and back East,
clicks turned into clinks, brass spoons stirring clouds
of milk in Moulvibazar tea. I want to tell you
about the curtains, handstitched in forgotten shades
unfurling a decade: independence, the rise of a nation,
an assassination, a metallic blue Civic smelling
the same sky as sourdough Sobhanbagh, quieter than
beetles taking refuge in the exterior cornices
of verandas before a storm, and beyond those
curtains, crayon-stained, how my sister learnt
to crawl. But, I am not ready. Let ash stain
the Dhanmondi sky in evenings wearing red after
each storm, turn lilacs into violets - it is possible
to carve patterns, trap lipids,
fan unfettered the indelible to embalm the body
as a spillage of trapped light.
* A hand-stitched light blanket, sometimes intricate embroidered, common in
Bangladesh and East Bengal, India.
** Langra Aam is a famous variety of mango very common along the eastern
regions of the Indian subcontinent.
White lines at a crossing
to a low-sprung bed in a room
for bodies refusing to stand
under the shower
wash off the night air.
I clutch bodies
let go to reveal
I peel curtains
back to the walls
open a window
let the sunshine brood walnuts.
A space may contain
the expanse between them
multiplied by divisions.
A space may contain
when nothing ripens
a ripening avocado.
I want to preserve the dust
from a dusk:
when the rose quartz
off the pericardium
dangling from the neck
pressed between skins
and the walls
rent back the walnuts
Mehldau, McBride, Redman
blading, twisting, plucking
dampening a blow.
A dressing gown eases its folds
not far enough
a belt is pulled tight
to mow skin
the trance of fibres
for calibrated time
the pesky chords
winding distant roars
burning Notre Dame
London rebelling extinction
a hundred arrested.
And, in Albany Road
above a chicken shop
in a room too safe
a voice on the radio
is pickling burdock
to make it taste
like lotus roots.
I want to hold
on to the space
Cardiff based Taz Rahman's first poetry collection is forthcoming in April 2024 from Seren Books. He was shortlisted for the Aesthetica Writing Prize 2022 and his poems have been published in Poetry Wales, Bad Lilies, Propel, Honest Ulsterman and South Bank Poetry. He is the founder of the Wales based Youtube poetry channel Just Another Poet.