, ,


You tore into our land

a crooked line.

That morning

we learned: the dawn

had been bitten by moths,

flying in droves, in madness

towards light. Unsure of the nature

of light, they had consumed


From above, we saw only

a silver abyss, one mile long,

either side plunged

in darkness—

the darkness of night, the darkness

of ash. We searched, sifting

the soil but found nothing.

We left, trying to preserve

at least memory. Our language,

like us, had no land.

~ ~

I say to a small boat

in black waters, alone

in infinity:

Whose pulse do you hold?

And what quivering

waters hold you?

Which direction

have you found forward?

What has lived in your past?

The wood darkens

with the night, until all

that is left is its silhouette.

There are no answers.

The air is empty, with nothing

to grasp.

In the distance, the horizon trembles

like a heartbeat.

~ ~

Tell them:

I have seen skin crushed

to a pulp, dead,

transparent as paper.

I have seen whole minds

turn to ash.

I have seen more water

than I understand,

seen humans claim

all light.

And some nights, I swear

it is so dark

even God cannot see us.

Adeeba Talukder
An ekphrastic poem after the Zarina: Dark Roads exhibit.
Image: Flag of Independence 1947 by Jimmy Engineer