Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


The Interviewer Acknowledges Grief

Sister, I waste time. I play
              and replay the voices of these
hurt women flowering

             like marigolds or thistles.
Something lost, forgotten—
             that picture of you, violin

sewn fast to your shoulder,
             bow in one hand poised
eternal. Again, the power's

             gone out—tell me, what is
it to say I miss you? Because
             you won't grow breasts, never

feel desire rippling across you
             like bolts of silk these many
lithe men unshelf daily

             for my choosing. Because you
can't reassure me I have
             the right to ask anything

of women whose bodies won't
              ever again be their own. You
can't blot away this utter, sooted

              darkness. You don't hesitate
when another birangona asks you,
              Do you have any siblings?

For decades, you've been
              so small: a child tapping
on opaque windows. Now,

              through the veranda's black
iron bars, I see you, dark
              silhouette hurrying past,

a bagged red box dangling
              from one slender arm—gift
for a lover or mother. Again,

               the generator shudders me back
into light. Isn't this, Sister,
               what I always said I wanted?

Credit


From Seam (Southern Illinois University, 2014) by Tarfia Faizullah. Copyright © 2014 by Tarfia Faizullah. Used with permission of the author.

Author


Tarfia Faizullah

Tarfia Faizullah was born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in Texas. She is the author of Registers of Illuminated Villages (Graywolf Press, 2018) and Seam (Southern Illinois University Press, 2014). She lives in Dallas, Texas.

Date Published: 2015-04-08

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/interviewer-acknowledges-grief