This is doubt. She is hiding. ‘She’ is inanimate. There are telephone wires around her neck. They are slackening. They are in duel with the skyline. They are rustic with community. They are transmitting. They are speaking to each other. They are greeting louder. They are making plans. They are cursing at the mirror. They are applying sunscreen. They are congregating at the city centre. They are shedding milieus. They are looking to the river. They are breaking out of trances. They are looking to the mainland. They are fighting friends. This is doubt. She is in hiding.
From behind ananda cinema hall to the dustbowl at kazipara. past the radhuni corner store, lay a quarter of the red guards in the city. shirtless. astral. kittens sweeping the minefields at their feet.
I. features: as painless as korbani daybreak.
II. onions, pahari chillis, chanachur.
like a ghost at his back as he reduces the curry.
III. aware and living.
IV. his tits plateauing into the Rub’al Khali, leveling the dunes of his rib cage, turtle necking to a jean seberg pixie crop. taut creases arching at his belly, waxed shut. arteries shy as a kite train at shakrain.
biri axed between forefinger and middle. polyester breathing mirpur 1 onto buzzcut hips. no one asks him why he crosses his legs at the knee and not the ankle, at the duchess slant, as the Naikhongchari 11, BGB Command protocol reccomends.
the bus. the beige. the indestructible. is always here at 6, near the corner of the pitch of cobblestones housing the one grocery in Al Khan that kept the tabs open for its shoplifters. it is sometimes here at 6:20 but only if Mr. Billal holds it up for his 3 kids, straight As, always groggy for roti and chole.
Stephen’s iPod. from which he offers one earphone. still don’t care much for the playlist. but we do listen to smells like teen spirit, religiously, cranked up and without remorse.
Astro turf, and you would return for rollcall with something dislocated. the line of sight to the opposing net points to a who’s who of oligarchs, the sheikhs with oil money, the young lords in finance, others in less respectable professions.
They give Irtaza shit for his weight. And he, mashallah, still, does not give a shit. i liked him. even after he tackled me to the ground to tell me that I was ugly as fuck. and definitely not his type.
You hang out at the western wall of the basketball court. public. wild incisor sticking out your gums. six times out of ten in the process of being greeted. You are never catching your breath.
I am hiding in the prayer room. the bills are paid. the conductors’ hands are forsaken piston rods. like an iron up and down the seam. crisp over the yoke. tunneling. being saved. confessing. underwhelming. being done.
There is always a line to the water fountain at 7:55.
Matuail tripping like currents on peep toe flats. Grabbing him by the sleeve. Plaid. It’s called plaid. But you don’t listen and I don’t really know for sure, and they look at me funny when I try to sieve through their retail wardrobe hangers for what we called muslin, before the banks of the Meghna contracted to spell a gorge, proud to have fought hunger, then tant, with cotton, georgette, airlifted through tarrifs, de-thumbed and knelt down, half-mast, at the folding of the pleats.
All of a sudden it is 2011; the fireworks exhibit Felani in a scissor scarf and, in arabic class; the teacher really likes you, rehearses you like hashtags at the expense of the national archives.
Downtown, H&M, why are there charred, lightly dusted fingers near where he scans the bar-code, where there should be, we thought, blue jumpsuits, and yellow hard hats, and parchment tanned at 41 °C lipping bangla, nepalese and malyalam, plotting industrial murder out of Sonapur to appease the religious police, to recite that, in fact, it was their highnesses of the seven emirates who built this city.
Wondering how that A-line would fit me; they’re making it look so easy: floral print and a beer belly sleeping stare only a cool girl could really could pull off living a diet of a singara at fajr.
He is talking like baba. Actively dispiriting. Opening the barrage to barsha, marooning uncommitted syllables; the words stuck to the hull of his teeth. flanked by crows sitting washing lines, parables for fleeing villagers. Draping his bob, asymmetric on concrete, microwaving the blueprints on how to break this unearned silence:
‘i mean, they were
sleeping pills but they were also thought fighting pills’
Him with This is the Last Dance and no foreplay, no sand, no mosquitoes, no largess of gosht.
Her no fucks to give hurdle over this heresy for a building code returns us to the erasure in khoda hafez.